Rep. Mahan: Staying involved in your government

Posted by: Samantha Holifield  | Monday, November 23, 2015 7:44 am

Staying involved in your government

The government plays a pivotal role in our everyday lives. As a citizen, your voice, thoughts and opinions matter. It is important for citizens of all ages to be involved in their government, whether it be at the city, county, state or federal level. Your elected representatives take your thoughts and opinions very seriously, and utilizes them to make informed decisions that best represent their constituents. One voice that we don’t hear from often enough are young adults.

In the legislative process particularly, the voice of young adults is underrepresented. All Hoosiers are invited to give public testimony at our committee meetings, and I encourage the public to make the trip to the Statehouse to do so. Often times, Hoosiers have a unique insight on how a particular bill will impact our state. Some of our strongest laws have come from individuals who see a problem, have an idea or solution and bring it to the attention of their state officials.

For example, in 2014, college students from the Indiana University Student Association (IUSA) testified on behalf of a bill that updated the Lifeline Law, which provides immunity for intoxicated minors who call first responders on behalf of an intoxicated individual needing assistance. The IUSA worked with a state senator and the attorney general to create legislation that adequately address. These students played a critical role in the legislative drafting process and securing passage of the final bill.

There are many other ways to be active in our government. One of the most important things you can do is stay informed and up-to-date on public policy topics. You can find information on meetings, decisions, legislation and laws on websites devoted to keeping the public informed. On the state website, www.iga.in.gov, and the federal website, www.usa.gov, there are options for you to read up on current legislation and even watch live or archived meetings.

Throughout my time as your state representative, I have visited many college campuses, and met with many groups and individuals. These have been some of my favorite speaking engagements, and I am always willing to meet with students and their organizations. If you ever want to share your thoughts and opinions with me, you can do so by calling 317-223-9509 or emailing h31@iga.in.gov.

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Rep. Mahan represents portions of Blackford, Delaware, Grant and Wells counties.