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[s11] Sen. Joe Zakas Chosen as Leader of Great Lakes Legislative Caucus
Start Date: 12/20/2012Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 12/21/2012End Time: 11:59 PM
Entry Description
STATEHOUSE (Dec. 20, 2012) — State Sen. Joe Zakas (R-Granger) has been chosen to serve on a bipartisan committee of regional lawmakers that will lead state legislative efforts to protect and restore the Great Lakes.

The 12-person Great Lakes Legislative Caucus Executive Committee was elected by fellow caucus members on Dec. 14. It is made up of the chair and vice chair of the caucus and one additional legislator from each of the eight states and two Canadian provinces in the Great Lakes basin.

“I look forward to working with other Great Lakes legislators in this position. Protecting and improving the Great Lakes is an important quality of life issue for residents of Northern Indiana. The St. Joseph River links us directly with Lake Michigan and thereby all of the other Great Lakes,” Zakas said.

Through its mix of programming, advocacy and activities, the Great Lakes Legislative Caucus provides a forum for the regional exchange of ideas and information on key Great Lakes issues. Its goal is to strengthen the role of state and provincial legislators in the Great Lakes policymaking process.

In the past, for example, the caucus has facilitated regional discussions on passage and implementation of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact. The compact helps states manage the use of Great Lakes waters and prevents diversions. It was passed by the eight Great Lakes states and ratified by Congress in 2008. Zakas led the effort in Indiana to participate in the Great Lakes Compact.

In addition, the Great Lakes Caucus has pushed for federal passage of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, an improved Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, and an expedited timeline for a federal study recommending how to keep Asian carp from entering the lakes via the Chicago Area Waterway System.

The caucus also maintains a legislative tracker that monitors bills being considered in state capitols and Washington, D.C.

Zakas and other members of the recently elected Executive Committee will guide caucus efforts in 2013-2014. Planned activities already include workshops for legislators in Michigan and Minnesota, webinars on Great Lakes policy, and a regional meeting this summer in Duluth, Minnesota.

Minnesota Sen. Ann Rest serves as chair of the nonpartisan Great Lakes Legislative Caucus. Membership in the caucus is open to all state and provincial legislators in the 10 Great Lakes states and provinces.

The Midwestern Office of The Council of State Governments provides staffing services for the caucus, which is funded by a grant from the Joyce Foundation. CSG is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association serving all three branches of state government. For more information about the caucus, please contact Lisa Janairo at or 920.458.5910 or visit

Contact Information:
Name: Evan Eikenberry
Phone: 317-232-9498
Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
  • Announcements
  • Category:
  • Government
  • Agency Name
    Senate Republican Caucus

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