Deep Roots in Indiana
By a long series of coincidences, I “returned” to Indiana. In the early 1800s, my ancestors migrated from Virginia, across Kentucky, finally settling in southern Indiana. In the next couple generations, some of the family moved across the Wabash River to Illinois, settling in the area around Carmi and Burnt Prairie. My grandparents moved north during the Great Depression, and I was born in Streator, Illinois.
In 1968, I moved to Chicago to attend college, and then moved again to the Indiana Dunes area of Porter County in 1973. During my first session in the Indiana Senate, I met another Democratic State Senator, Lindel Hume. We both knew the same story, and confirmed: we had the same grandfather 10 generations ago!
Thanks to my aunt Eloise, who did genealogy research in the 1950s, long before it was popular.
Deep roots in Indiana
- Attended University of Chicago 1968-1972, with a B.A. in philosophy/psychology.
- Worked at the Chicago Open Board of Trade, later the Mid-America Commodity Exchange, and at the Chicago Board of Trade during the years from 1970-73.
- Moved to the town of Ogden Dunes, IN in 1973, and have lived here since
then. After a divorce, I remained here and continued to raise my three
- – Michael is currently a paramedic and firefighter with the Portage Fire Department.
- – Christopher works in the restaurant business and lives the city life in Chicago.
- – Aimee has a Ph.D. in wildlife biology, and “chases bears and wolves” in Yellowstone and other places around the world.
- Attended Valparaiso University law school, graduating in 1990 magna cum laude. Practiced law in Northwest Indiana since 1990.
SENATE CAREER AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS
- 2005: Elected by caucus after resignation of former Senator Rose Antich.
- Elected 2006, 2010, 2014, and 2018.
- Currently serving in a leadership role as the Senate Democrat Caucus Chair.
- Served on the following Senate Committees:
- – Appropriations (current Ranking Minority Member)
- – Pensions & Labor (prior Ranking Minority Member)
- – Energy and Environmental Affairs (prior RMM)
- – Criminal Corrections and Civil Procedure (Ranking Minority Member)
- – Insurance and Financial Institutions
- – Utility Regulation
- – Economic Development
- – Local Government
- – Tax and Fiscal Policy
- – Rules Committee
- – Legislative Council
- Also serving on the following Standing Committees:
- – State Budget Committee
- – Pension Management Oversight
- – Unemployment Oversight
- – Benjamin Harrison Conservation Trust Board
- – Labor and Employment Committee
2008: Legislator of the Year Award, American Civil Liberties Union
2010: Legislator of the Year Award, Steel Workers 10-4, Tommy Blalock Award
2011: Society of Innovators for authoring Mortgage Foreclosure legislation
2014: Indiana State Chamber of Commerce: Small Business Champion
2018: Legislator of the Year, American Legion Department of Indiana
2019: Authored and passed Community Paramedicine program; filed and passed legislation regarding taxation of short term rentals; filed bills for minimum wage and to increase benefits on workers compensation payments; Ranking Minority Member/Conferee: State budget.
2018: Authored and passed Sand on the Beach to prevent erosion in Lake Michigan; Filed bills on minimum wage, voluntary Family Medical Leave Act program; medical marijuana; workers compensation; workers misclassification; voting rights; Worked on various pension matters; Filed bill to remove felony charges for maintaining common nuisance based on possession of marijuana; Filed for study of short term rentals (Air-b-n-b); Filed a Vote by Mail bill; Co-authored the CBD oil bill; Co-authored bill requiring recording of annexation waivers.
2017: Worked on various pension matters; Filed bills on minimum wage, voluntary Family Medical Leave Act program; medical marijuana; worker misclassification ; Income tax deduction on public school expenses; Bonding for RDA for the NICTD train projects; Supported the Transportation and Infrastructure Funding bill; Ranking Minority Member/ Conferee: State budget. Helped to secure significant funding for double tracking program for NICTD.
2016: Filed bills on minimum wage, voluntary Family Medical Leave Act program; medical marijuana.
2015: Ranking Minority Member/ Conferee: state budget; Helped secure significant funding renewal for NWI RDA; $6 million/year for 30-year bond for train; Filed insurance exchange, minimum wage, medical marijuana; Religious Freedom Restoration Act opponent; Opposed the repeal of common construction wage.
2014: Dissolution of political subdivision; PRF/TRF benefit adjustments; Assessment and transfers of real estate issues; Filed bills on minimum wage and medical marijuana; Affordable Care act issues.
2013: Helped secure increase to Worker’s Compensation benefits; co-author; Ranking Minority Member/Conferee: state budget.
2011: Mortgage Foreclosure updates; Labor and PMOC recommendations.
2010: Unemployment Insurance overhaul bill; conferee; Buy America amendments to Illiana; Texting while driving bill – co-author; Due Process for EMS service providers; other Labor issues and PMOC and unemployment recommendations; Abandoned Homes and foreclosure bill – co- author.
2009: SB 492 – Mortgage Foreclosure Prevention Statute; initiating author and negotiated a mandatory mediation notice and conference in the case of mortgage foreclosures; Labor Issues and PMOC legislative recommendation.
2008: Great Lakes Compact – co-author; Authored and negotiated: Automatic Deduction for payment of Property Taxes; Teen Driving bill; Environmental Issues: Anti-degradation rules; Environmental Restrictive Covenants; E-waste recycling bill.
2007: Worked on Property Tax bill; Adult Education and Labor issues; PMOC legislative recommendations.
2006: Opposed plan to privatize the toll way; Wrote fireworks model ordinance for local government usage.
Portage Parks Foundation, past President; Member of Board of Directors since 1999.
Indiana Independent Colleges Assoc.; Board member 2015-present Lakeshore Public Broadcasting; Board member 2015 – present
Bar Associations: Lake County & Porter County since 1990; Indiana State Bar Assn.
Member, Ogden Dunes Home Association
League of Women Voters
- – President, Porter County League, 1986-88
- – Director, State League organization, 1987-1992
- – 1992 Voter Service Chairman: responsible for negotiating, coordinating and hosting debate between Senate candidates Richard Lugar and James Jontz
Candidate for Superior Court Judge, 2000
2007: Attendee at Bowhay Institute Legislative Leadership Development.
2007: Attendee, Council of State Governments annual caucus, Traverse City, Mi.
2008: Attendee, CSG annual meeting
2009: Attendee National Conference State Governments, Philadelphia; Attendee: CSG, Kansas City
2011: Attendee: CSG Toronto
2012: Attendee: CSG, Cleveland
2013: Attendee: CSG, Minneapolis
2014: Attendee: Council of State Governments Toll Fellowship program
2015: Attendee: CSG
2016: Attendee: CSG
2017: Award: Legislator of the Year, American Legion Dpt. Of Indiana; Attendee: CSG Toronto, Iowa City
2018: Member: Conference of State Governments, US Canada Relations Committee; Co-Chair, Sub Committee on NAFTA
2019: Attendee: CSG, Chicago, US Canada Relations Committee: chair, Sub-Committee on NAFTA