11/19/2012 3:11:00 AM Counting blessings and new members
By Kathy Kreag Richardson Indiana State Representative, District 29
With the election now behind us, the Legislature is moving full steam ahead. The upcoming 2013 legislative session begins in January, but before the official start date, every member of both the House of Representatives and Senate has to be sworn in on Organization Day, Nov. 20. Indiana's Chief Justice Brent Dickson will lead the proceedings with plenty of new faces filling the ranks of this year's 118th General Assembly.
Most House Legislative Districts changed throughout Indiana after the 2010 census, and now after the November 6th election, those new districts are finally in place. For House District 29, it was a matter of needing to be split in half. House districts contain approximately 64,000 people, but the 29th district had nearly doubled since the 2001 redistricting to over 118,000 people. The 29th district now contains all of Noblesville and Wayne Townships along with the precincts of 14 and 16 in Fall Creek Township and Aroma and Strawtown precincts in White River Township. Most of the southern portion that was the 29th district is now included in the new district 37 which is held by Rep. Todd Huston of Fishers. House District 37 contains Delaware and Fall Creek Townships.
I am glad to add Todd to the list of Hamilton County House members with Reps. Jerry Torr, Eric Turner and Steve Braun.
As I prepare for the 2013 session, working with our new members in the House is a large part of my job. I want to welcome all 26 new members to the Indiana House of Representatives including 19 new Republicans. This year's class of 26 is the largest freshmen class in Indiana's history. The General Assembly has a lot of young, energetic leaders that will lead our state for many years to come, and I am looking forward to working closely with them throughout the next term.
Tuesday will be an exciting day for the new members when they bring their families to the Statehouse to share in the swearing in and beginning a new phase of their lives.
Last week, Speaker Bosma announced an addition to our leadership team in the House as Rep. Tim Brown of Crawfordsville will chair Ways and Means replacing the now retired Rep. Jeff Espich. Rep. Espich served the Legislature for 40 years and will surely be missed. Rep. Brown is more than capable to fill his big shoes as his experiences as a legislator and an ER doctor will certainly be relied on for health care decisions and understanding Indiana's fiscal outlook.
Then of course after our big day on Tuesday, we will all be looking forward to spending the holidays with family and friends. Thanksgiving is such a special time to gather, enjoy great food and fellowship along with a football game or two.
We all have our Thanksgiving traditions. For me, it has simply become a day to be grateful for all I have.
Our nation has come a long way to get to where it is today. Thanksgiving is about thanking those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our freedoms and independence. It's about being thankful for what we have as a family, community, state and nation. It's about understanding that there are less privileged folks, and we, as a community, need to do everything we can to uplift them.
There are countless organizations, food pantries, soup kitchens and non-profit organizations in Hamilton County who make a difference in people's lives every day. Good Samaritan, Third Phase, our local trustees and many of our churches do a great job of meeting the needs of our community, but more can be done. They can always use more volunteers, donations and help. I encourage everyone to reach out to someone in need this holiday season. Even the smallest gesture can go a long way to show someone you care.
As your family and friends gather for the holiday to enjoy some turkey, please take a moment to reflect on the many blessings around you. We live in the greatest country in the world and enjoy priceless freedoms guaranteed by those who selflessly serve in the Armed Forces. I have much to be thankful for in the many friends I have, and I continue to be grateful for the opportunity to once again represent you at the Statehouse.
Sofie, Millie and I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving, and we look forward to seeing you in the Christmas Parade on Sunday as we kick off the holiday season.