A new session, a new spirit of cooperation
Tuesday, November 20 marked the ceremonial beginning of the next legislative session. We have several big issues facing us this year as jobs, education and fiscal integrity will be the focus. This upcoming session the General Assembly is responsible for crafting a balanced budget for fiscal years 2014 and 2015. With the fiscal uncertainty associated with the implementation of the federal healthcare mandate, it is all the more important that we make wise financial decisions in order to protect Hoosier families. This will require both parties to work together for the betterment of Indiana.
As I walk through the halls here at the capitol, I see Republicans and Democrats shaking hands, speaking very cordially with one another, and sharing ideas. It is my sincere hope that this sense of friendship and cooperation will continue throughout the remainder of the session.
This session, our priorities as House Republicans are very straightforward. As I mentioned in previous columns, this is a budget year. Our goal will be to again pass an honestly balanced budget that provides the framework for Hoosiers to have more opportunities for a better life and chances to seize the American Dream. Hoosier families have to live within a budget, so it is only fitting that our state government operate the same way.
Another priority is to bridge Indiana’s “skills gap” by supporting career and technical education in our high schools. I feel strongly that both parties can come together on this is an issue to accomplish meaningful results. As many of you know, I work in public education. With that background, I have a deep understanding of the fact that providing Hoosier children with the educational opportunities they need to succeed is something that should and must transcend party politics. Our children’s future depends on our ability to work together to provide them with the great opportunities they deserve.
When I was elected in 2010, I came in with 18 other freshmen representatives. This year, there are 25 new freshmen representatives. That means that 44 of the 100 representatives are either in their first or second term. We have a tremendous opportunity as young legislators to change the tone and forge a new path that is built on achieving results by cooperating with all who are willing, regardless of their party affiliation. As this new session begins, I look forward to hearing from you and representing your voice in Indianapolis.