HC lawmakers sworn in during General Assembly

(From left) Rep. Dan Leonard, Sen. Jim Banks and Sen. Travis Holdman.
(From left) Rep. Dan Leonard, Sen. Jim Banks and Sen. Travis Holdman. Photos provided.

Three legislators representing Huntington County were among the Indiana lawmakers sworn in on Tuesday, Nov. 20, during the ceremonial opening of the 118th General Assembly.

Dan Leonard, R-Huntington, represents House District 50, which includes Huntington County as well as portions of Allen and Wells counties.

Jim Banks, R-Columbia City, represents Senate District 17, covering the western two-thirds of Huntington County, all of Wabash County, and parts of Whitley and Grant counties and Wabash County.

Travis Holdman, R-Markle, represents Senate District 19, which includes the eastern third of Huntington County, part of Grant County and all of Adam, Blackford, Jay and Wells counties.

The ceremonial first day of the session, called Organization Day, offers each House and Senate caucus the opportunity to organize before the session officially begins on Jan. 7.

All three local lawmakers have been appointed to serve on committees during the session.

Leonard will chair the local government or tax subcommittee, part of the House Ways and Means Committee. While the full committee is charged with overseeing fiscal issues and spearheading a balanced budget, Leonard's subcommittee will deal with and allocate funds for local government.

Banks will chair the Senate's public safety subcommittee. He will also serve on the civil law committee, education and career development committee, elections committee and homeland security, transportation and veterans affairs committee for 2013 and 2014.

Holdman has been appointed chairman of the Senate Committee on Financial Institutions and is ranking member of the Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee. He will also serve as a member of the environmental affairs committee, insurance committee and local government committee in 2013 and 2014.

The legislative agenda of the House Republican Caucus focuses on financial integrity, jobs and education, Leonard notes.

"Our agenda was set to make Indiana the best state to start and grow a business and to receive a quality education," Leonard says. "Every Hoosier should have the opportunity to receive a top education, and it starts with having the right choices available to suit the needs of the student."

The 2013 session is a budget year, Banks and Holdman note, meaning lawmakers will draft a comprehensive proposal to fund government services for the next two years. By law, the 2013 legislative session must be completed no later than April 29.

"Our main focus this session is passing Indiana's fifth consecutive balanced budget," Banks says. "Other states continue to spend irresponsibly and live outside of their means, but that is not how Indiana operates. We cannot adequately serve Hoosiers without responsible fiscal policies."

"It is crucial that we make passing a balanced budget the top priority of this session," Holdman says. "While other states continue to allow irresponsible spending, Indiana is standing out as a leader in the job market and economy as a whole. We can continue this by crafting a sound fiscal plan for our state."

Banks says his priorities for the 2013 session include improving education through vocational training and school choice, building on Indiana's low-tax, job-friendly environment and protecting traditional marriage.

For Holdman, priorities include protecting Hoosier children by improving Indiana's Department of Child Services, building on Indiana's low-tax, job-friendly environment and responding to President Obama's Affordable health Care Act.

During the session, the local lawmakers can be reached at:

• Leonard: h50@in.gov or 1-800-382-9841.

• Banks: Senator.Banks @iga.in.gov or 1-800-382-9467.

• Holdman: Senator.Ho ldman@iga.in.gov or 1-800-382-9467.

The mailing address for all Indiana House members is Indiana House of Representatives, 200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46204.

The mailing address for all Indiana Senate members is Indiana State Senate, 200 W. Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204-2785.