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[r29] Column: Heavy hearts around the country
Start Date: 4/24/2013Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 4/24/2013End Time: 11:59 PM
Entry Description
Heavy hearts around the country

It has been a rough few days for our country, state and even county.  From the horrid bombings in Boston where hundreds of innocent individuals and their families will be effected for the remainder of their lives to the fertilizer plant explosion in Texas that decimated the surrounding area to the hundreds of people with home’s underwater from the floods. It has been a trying time for Americans across the country, but our strength couldn’t be seen any clearer than from the unquestioning help everyone has displayed for those in need.

We are strongest when we come together, in all walks of life. We saw the bravery and valor of those who ran into the smoke and debris with no regard for personal safety to care for those who were injured. We saw the same courageousness when the stage collapsed at the State Fair in 2011. We are a resilient people, who will never back down to the tyranny of evil and cowardice of terrorism. 

It always saddens me to see a man or woman in uniform pass away in protecting the public from evildoers. The fatal shooting of MIT police officer Sean Collier in Cambridge was especially hard to hear about. Public safety officials throughout the country, especially those who protect our communities in Indiana, deserve our sincerest gratitude for ensuring our safety from crime, natural disasters and all other threats.

The teams in place for the recovery efforts in north central Indiana have done a tremendous job as they have constantly kept us informed of road closing and dangerous areas. Sadly, the record level of rainfall caught many drivers on the roadways. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone that has been affected by the floods, especially the families of the two men that lost their lives in Hamilton County. David Baker, 42, and Robert Morgan, 64, both from Arcadia, perished after their vehicles had submerged in Cicero Creek. 

There will be many heavy hearts at the Statehouse this week as communities look to rebound and rebuild. You always want to be in the community during these times to do what you can, but we are bound to conclude legislative business. The tragic loss of life in our area won’t be forgotten.

Much has been made of this session, mostly positive, as supermajorities in both houses have struck a different tone. In the House, the last few legislative sessions have been full of strife and partisan bickering; everything from education reform to right-to-work was met with fierce opposition from the minority party. A large credit to this change goes to the Republican and Democrat caucuses for working together.

While a large majority of bills pass with bipartisan support in the General Assembly, members do have philosophical and political differences in what direction they believe Indiana should go. Each member only has the best intentions for Indiana and is passionate about their ideas to make it all a reality for Hoosiers. When our ideas differ, it shouldn’t lead to gridlock as has been the case in Washington D.C. We pride ourselves knowing that we can work together for the betterment of every Hoosier.

Many times members come together and form a sort of “odd couple,” in the Legislature. This year, Rep. Woody Burton (R-Whiteland) and Rep. Greg Porter (D-Indianapolis) could be labeled as such for their work on tackling bullying in our schools. House Bill 1423 passed out of both houses and awaits the governor’s signature to become law. 

The progress made on this very serious issue wouldn’t have been possible without their willingness to get this legislation through the houses to help Hoosier students in need. Reps. Burton and Porter might disagree on most policy initiatives, but both looked past their differences and focused on their similarities. They are just one example of the many bipartisan pairings seen this year, setting the tone for a much more successful and progressive session.

Session will have to conclude by April 29, but I am confident that we will adjourn for the year on Friday. I’ll provide a wrap-up of the session in next week’s column. Stay involved in the process! It’s crunch time! 
 
-30-
Contact Information:
Name: Nicholas Goodwin
Phone: 3172329831
Email: ngoodwin@iga.in.gov
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