Rep. Ziemke: Setting the stage for the 2016 legislative session

Posted by: Zach Weismiller  | Friday, November 20, 2015

The General Assembly recently convened at the Statehouse for Organization Day, which marks the official start of the new legislative session. Although most of the day was spent meeting with fellow lawmakers and staff, we also had the opportunity to listen to House Speaker Brian Bosma as he outlined the House Republicans’ legislative priorities for the upcoming session.

Specifically, he discussed the importance of addressing Indiana’s transportation infrastructure needs and breaking the cycle of substance abuse in our communities. I share many of the same concerns as the Speaker, and look forward to working with my colleagues to address these and many other critical issues facing our state.

Indiana needs roughly $1.5 billion in additional funding per year to fix and preserve our current roads and bridges as well as plan for future projects. This session, it is essential that we address Indiana’s immediate infrastructure needs while also developing a comprehensive, long-term solution that maintains state roads and assists local governments with road funding for many years to come. Every part of our economy is affected by Indiana’s transportation infrastructure; in order to sustain strong job growth, we must make this our top priority this session.

As a lawmaker, I have always been committed to advancing legislation that improves the quality of life and overall health of Hoosiers. In many communities, including ours in southeast Indiana, we have witnessed an increase in drug-related incidents from heroin and meth. In addition to directing individuals who suffer from drug addiction to the treatment they need, I believe we must also find a balanced approach to combatting the production and distribution of these dangerous drugs.

Along with discussing legislative topics, Organization Day presents legislators and staff the opportunity to raise awareness for a philanthropic organization that the Speaker chooses each year. This year, House Republicans and Democrats are teaming up to support the Boys & Girls Clubs of Indiana, which help Hoosier children and teens in need. With more than 100 Boys & Girls Clubs that serve 105,000 youth each year, their goal is to enable all young Hoosiers to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible members of society.

To kick things off, we started a donation drive that will continue throughout the legislative session, collecting non-perishable food products, school and art supplies, books and other items. I was proud to give back to such a wonderful organization by donating sports equipment that will go to one of our local clubs, but much more is needed. Whether it is by donating, volunteering or helping to raise awareness, any contribution can make a difference.

To find the club nearest to you and for more information about volunteering or donating, please visit www.indianahouserepublicans.com/collect4clubs. I believe every young Hoosier deserves a life filled with hope and opportunity, and I hope you will join me in working towards this goal.

If you have any questions about our charity initiative or any of the issues mentioned above, I encourage you to contact my office by calling 317-232-9815 or emailing h55@iga.in.gov.

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State Rep. Cindy Ziemke (R-Batesville) represents portions of Rush, Fayette, Franklin, Ripley and Decatur counties.