INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
A folksy state lawmaker from rural southern Indiana was picked Monday as the
new Democratic minority leader for the Indiana House of Representatives.
But what’s yet to
be seen is whether Austin Rep. Terry Goodin will be a mere placeholder, or
someone who makes a credible effort to lead Democrats out of a wilderness of
irrelevance. They hold just 30 of 100 Indiana House seats.
“This is all about
elections, we know that,” Goodin said following his selection by members of
the House Democratic caucus. “We’re going to give the people in the state of
Indiana their voice back.”
dominate not only the Indiana Legislature but also the congressional
delegation and all elected Statehouse offices. They’ve controlled the
Indiana House since wresting control away from Democrats during the 2010 tea
party wave. That enabled the GOP to control the once-in-a-decade
redistricting process, which comes after the federal census and resulted in
redrawn legislative and congressional districts favoring the party.
Goodin, who was
first elected to the House in 2000, is a throwback to the kind of
conservative Democrat who used to perform well in Indiana legislative races.
He has often sided with Republicans on anti-abortion and gun rights
legislation, and vows as the Democratic leader to not “have a nuclear bomb
approach” toward partisan wrangling.
fellow Rep. Phil GiaQuinta of Fort Wayne after one ballot of voting. He
declined to say what the vote was, or whether his ambitions include
remaining leader beyond the 2018 races.
He replaces former
Leader Scott Pelath of Michigan City, who announced this month that he was
stepping down from his leadership role after five years and wouldn’t seek
another term next year.
“There’s going to
be a different voice with a little more southern accent and twang to it, but
we’re going to have a unified voice,” Goodin said.
Goodin said he
intends to keep his day job as superintendent of the Crothersville Community
Schools, a district of about 500 students some 30 miles north of Louisville,