Remembering Phyllis PondIndiana lost a champion last week. Phyllis Pond proudly served her district and Indiana proudly. A champion for education reform and children’s needs, Phyllis Pond broke barriers and inspired many with her knowledge, zest and unwillingness to break away from her principles.
Elected in 1978, Rep. Pond never quit working for the people of her district and Hoosiers alike. Through her experience as a teacher, she recognized educational issues plaguing our state and was instrumental in orchestrating solutions through legislation.
Rep. Pond was the original author of the Primetime education bill which lowered class sizes in Kindergarten through 3rd grade to 18 students and if a class size is larger than 18, then that class is provided with a part or full time teacher’s aide. She was also the author of the Conference for Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) law which developed a plan to assist minority students to attend law school.
The longest serving woman in Indiana’s history, Representative Pond broke barriers and inspired many when she became the first woman to sit front row of the Indiana House Chamber in 2005, a spot reserved for those with seniority.
One thing that stands out in my memory of Rep. Pond was her passion and appreciation for those who served in the military. She was always informing veterans of the different kinds of benefits that are offered to them, and encouraging those who had the means to send cards and words of encouragement to those who were serving overseas during the holidays.
Serving with Phyllis Pond was a constant learning experience. She was the epitome of a statesman - she served her district and our state with distinction. She was spunky yet caring and kindhearted. I was proud to serve with her. I never saw her without a smile on her face and a positive outlook.
I will carry the lessons I learned from Phyllis Pond forever. Insightful, selfless, persistent and compassionate, Phyllis Pond was a great leader and person. She will be greatly missed and she has left us with a lasting legacy.