[r76] Losing a Mentor and Good Friend (9/27/2013)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Start Date: 9/27/2013 Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 9/27/2013 End Time: 11:59 PM
This week Indiana lost a true pioneer. State Representative Phyllis Pond passed away Sunday September 22 after being diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis. Rep. Pond was elected to the state legislature in 1978 and was the longest serving female state representative in the history of Indiana. She was also the first female lawmaker to earn a seat in the front row in the House Chamber, which is reserved for House leaders with the most seniority.

Before being elected to the legislature, Rep. Pond was a kindergarten teacher. She used her experience in the classroom through her years of service in the legislature where she authored the Primetime Education Bill which capped kindergarten through third grade classroom sizes at 18.  She was always looking for new ways to improve her district and the state of Indiana.

It was an honor to serve with Phyllis, who has accomplished so much.  Her life was spent in service to the State of Indiana and she was a model Stateswoman.  I had the opportunity to sit on committees with Phyllis and she always asked questions to illicit deeper understanding. She provided thoughtful reflection to vet the issue at hand and had the perfect mixture of quick wit, plenty of spunk and a touch of feistiness.   Phyllis was a shining example of kindness, selflessness, and firmness when necessary. Any aspiring leader would do well to emulate her service in office.

Rep. Pond served as a friend and mentor to female legislators. Of all the things she taught us, one stands out. Always listen more than you talk. This very simple message went a long way for many of us, especially our first few years serving our constituents. 

I look forward to honoring Rep. Pond on Organization Day, November 19 in the House Chamber. Her name will be added to the “In Memory Of” plaque that is displayed in the House Chamber that lists legislators who have died while serving the citizens of Indiana in the House of Representatives.  

Rep. Pond has left a lasting legacy. As we remember her in the weeks to come, each person who knew her will recall her unwavering commitment to the community she served. We will carry on this legacy and I will always remember this pioneer for Indiana

McNamara_Memo_Losing a Mentor and Good Friend.docx