Last week, all 150 state legislators gathered at the Statehouse for the Indiana General Assembly’s Organization Day. This occurs annually in November, and state lawmakers use the day to take the oath of office, meet newly elected members and prepare for the upcoming legislative session. This was an exciting day, marking the ceremonial start of the 120th Indiana General Assembly.
Following the general election earlier this month, all re-elected members and member-elects were sworn into office on Organization Day. Many family members visited the Statehouse to witness their loved ones solemnly affirming to “support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Indiana.” This is an oath that I have taken and will continue to uphold.
This Organization Day, House and Senate lawmakers also announced we are teaming up to support Habitat for Humanity of Indiana, an organization that raises awareness about the need for affordable housing.
The non-profit organization currently serves 75 counties throughout the state, selling homes with affordable, interest-free mortgages. To begin the application process, families must demonstrate their ability to pay a mortgage and manage their finances. Once a family is accepted into the program, they contribute sweat equity hours and attend homebuyer education classes. It’s a proven and wonderful program that helps neighborhoods and communities at the family level.
Most homes under the program are newly built. Both the homeowners and construction volunteers build them under trained supervision. Hoosiers contribute thousands of hours of labor to reduce building costs, making a family’s dream of home ownership a reality. Individuals, corporations, faith-based groups and others provide donations that make up the vital financial support needed to build these homes. This year, legislative members and staff will participate in a new and used tool drive, which will help Habitat volunteers build new houses for those in need across the state. On a day during session we will also be taking shifts and building wall panels for a home on the Statehouse lawn that will go to a family on Habitat for Humanity’s waiting list.
There are multiple ways to get involved with Habitat for Humanity of Indiana, including making a financial donation, volunteering to help with construction, and providing in-kind gifts or lunches at construction sites. For more information, visit www.habitatindiana.org.
After a break for Christmas and New Year’s Day, state policymakers will return to the Statehouse in January for the 2017 legislative session. My colleagues and I in the Indiana House Republican Caucus will be focusing on passing a balanced state budget and a long-term road funding plan. We will also prioritize education, job creation, workforce development, addiction treatment and public safety.
I hope you and your family had a blessed Thanksgiving and enjoy the Christmas holiday.
State Rep. Lloyd Arnold (R-Leavenworth) represents portions of Spencer, Dubois, Perry, Crawford and Orange counties.
A high-resolution photo of Arnold can be downloaded by clicking here.