State Rep. Scott
Pelath, D-Michigan City, again will serve as the leader for Indiana House
Democrats during the 2017 and 2018 sessions of the Indiana General Assembly.
organizational meeting today in Indianapolis, the House Democratic Caucus
chose Pelath as leader, State Rep. Linda Lawson, D-Hammond, as House
Democratic Floor Leader and State Rep. John Bartlett, D-Indianapolis, as
caucus chairman. This will be Pelath’s third consecutive term as leader for
the House Democrats, Lawson’s third term in her post, and Bartlett’s second
term as caucus chair.
They will lead a
caucus of 30 members, an increase from 2015-16. House Democrats were able to
hold onto all seats held the past two years, and gained one in Tuesday’s
election (the 12th House District).
“We have just seen
an election that was very difficult for Democrats at the state and national
levels,” Pelath said after his selection. “Despite all these hardships,
Indiana House Democrats return today in greater numbers than before. We face
a significant challenge that transcends the usual work that we do.
“But we will
continue to fight for the causes that are just: good-paying jobs for
Hoosiers, fighting for the interests of our middle class, restoring a
measure of sanity to how we fund education for all in Indiana, and resolving
the debates over civil rights in our state,” he continued. “House Democrats
are prepared to do everything in our power to make sure that the voices of
those who aim for these goals are heard. We fully intend to stand on the
side of justice and basic human decency.
“Our role will
remain the same: to support those issues that deserve it, to point out where
our colleagues have gone wrong, and to offer solutions that provide the
people of Indiana with clear choices of where we believe this state should
be heading,” Pelath said. “The fight remains the same. We are ready to get
welcomed five new members.
State Rep. Earl
Harris, Jr., D-East Chicago, was elected to the Indiana House District 2
seat that his father, Earl Sr., held from 1982 to 2015, and his mother,
Donna, held in 2015 and 2016. Rep. Harris is a small business owner
(Motivation Media) and a TV and video producer.
State Rep. Joe
Taylor III, D-South Bend, was elected to the 7th District House seat that
was held by State Rep. David Niezgodski (D-South Bend) from 2006 to 2016.
Rep. Taylor is an assembler at AM General and has served as United Auto
Workers Local 5 president since 2011.
State Rep. Mara
Candelaria Reardon, D-Munster, returns to the 12th Indiana House district
seat she held from 2006 to 2014.
State Rep. Ryan
Hatfield, D-Evansville, will serve as 77th District representative, a seat
that has been held by State Rep. Gail Riecken (D-Evansville) from 2008 to
2016. Rep. Hatfield is an attorney and a Vanderburgh County deputy
State Rep. Carey
Hamilton, D-Indianapolis, will serve as 87th District representative,
replacing State Rep. Christina Hale (D-Indianapolis), who served from 2012
to 2016. Rep. Hamilton is executive director of the Indiana Recycling