December is one of my favorite months of the year. While I could do without the cold temperatures, there is truly nothing better than time spent with family. For state lawmakers, this time of year also signifies that a new legislative session is right around the corner.
Nov. 17 marked the first official day of session, known as Organization Day. This is largely a day of ceremony and togetherness before the real flurry of activity begins in January. It is not without importance, however.
For instance, every Organization Day, House Speaker Brian C. Bosma designates a specific charity that both House Republicans and Democrats will support and raise awareness for throughout session.
This year’s philanthropy is the Boys and Girls Club of Indiana. Our state has over 100 Boys and Girls Clubs, including several in Evansville and one in Rockport. Statewide, this organization serves 105,000 Hoosier youth each year. Their goal is to ensure that every child has an opportunity to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible members of society.
As a grandfather, it is concerning that any child would be left unsupervised after school or without access to critical summer learning programs. The opportunities that the Boys and Girls Club provides have been life-changing for so many in our state. Together we can make an even greater difference in the lives of our future leaders, and I hope that you will join me in supporting this organization. To learn how you can get involved, please visit www.indianahouserepublicans.com/collect4clubs.
Also on Organization Day, Speaker Bosma outlined several top priorities for the 2016 session, including improving our roads and bridges. Despite making significant investments in recent years, it is estimated that Indiana still needs an additional $1.5 billion in infrastructure funding every year in order to maintain what we have, finish what we have started and plan for the future.
While it is still too early to tell what the solution will be, it is apparent that we must develop a long-term, comprehensive plan that assists local governments and stays true to our commitment to fiscal integrity.
As we tackle this and other key topics, it is important to keep an open line of communication between myself and the community. One excellent way to do this is by filling out my 2016 constituent survey which you should be receiving in the coming weeks. This is something we do at the start of each session to help gauge your opinion on many of the pressing issues facing the Hoosier state.
Indiana has made great strides, but there is always more that can be done. Thank you in advance for your participation, and I look forward to your feedback.