Remembering Phyllis Pond
Indiana lost a comrade last week. My friend, colleague and mentor, Phyllis Pond, passed away last week. State Representative Phyllis Pond was a voice for Allen and portions of DeKalb counties for 35 years-and made history while doing it.
First elected in 1978, Phyllis Pond was a kindergarten teacher for East Allen Community Schools and a warrior for education and children’s issues. Phyllis was the original author of the Primetime education bill which lowered class sizes for kindergarten through 3rd grade to 18 students. If a class had more than 18 students, then the class would be provided with a full or part time teacher’s aide. She also authored the Conference for Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) law, which developed a plan to assist minority students to attend law school.
She never failed to have the best interest of those who served in mind. Every Christmas, she would write letters to those who were serving overseas during the holidays. Phyllis was constantly raising awareness for different veterans’ benefits and encouraging those who were eligible to apply. She even had photos of Humvees hanging in her office.
She made history in 2005 when she became the first woman in Indiana’s history to sit front row in the Indiana House Chamber-a position reserved for leadership positions and seniority. She was also presented with the state’s highest award, The Sagamore of the Wabash on November 2, 1984 by Governor Robert Orr.
Phyllis was a true friend. After I was elected in 1996, she offered timeless legislative advice and was always there to guide me in the right direction. I am proud to call her my friend and I will forever carry the lessons she taught me.
There was never a time when I would see her walking throughout the Statehouse or on the House floor without a smile. It was evident that she truly loved representing the people of her district, and she represented District 85 with distinction.
Phyllis never compromised her principles and always asked the right questions, but what I will remember most about Phyllis Pond is her compassion. She was small in stature but mighty in her ideas and she made the lives of Hoosiers better.
I will miss my friend Phyllis Pond and will forever remember the lessons she taught me.