The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Election 2012

November 10, 2012

Democrats will assume role of ‘loyal opposition’

General Assembly focus: to gain lost seats in 2014

ANDERSON, Ind. — Even though Republicans will be able to legislate at will when the General Assembly convenes in January, two local Democrat state lawmakers say that only makes their presence for debate more vital.

State Rep. Terri Austin overwhelmingly won re-election over Republican opponent James Lycan on Tuesday.

And Indiana Senate Democrats chose state Sen. Tim Lanane as their leader on Wednesday.

But with Republican supermajorities in both the Indiana Senate (37-13) and House of Representatives (69-31), will they simply be lone voices in the wilderness?

“It’s a pretty thin pancake that only has one side,” Lanane said on Friday. “On every issue there needs to be a debate. I think you have to do your duty as loyal opposition. I’ve challenged our members. Our numbers may be small, but that just means we have to work harder,” Lanane added.

Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma said last week said the GOP would not overreach and focus on issues that matter to Hoosiers: education, jobs, and fiscal matters.

Lanane said he hopes Bosma lives up to that pledge and steers Republican lawmakers away from divisive social issues as the General Assembly prepares for its long session where the primary obligation is crafting a new state budget.

“We need to address the economy, education, public safety and infrastructure — which is a good way to create a lot of jobs — and the cost of higher education,” Lanane said. “These are the bread-and-butter issues I think people expect us to be working on.”

Austin said she believes one reason for the surge in Republican members is that this was the first election using new redistricting maps as a result of the 2010 census. Because Republicans were in the majority, “those maps were skillfully drawn,” to generally favor Republican candidates, she said.

Austin said she will take Bosma at his word and begin the session “with a clean slate, and we will work hand-in-hand,” with the majority.

She added that even though Republicans have a supermajority, that doesn’t mean everyone will agree. “They’ve got a very diverse group,” she said.

Large majorities also create the added prospect of factions developing within the caucus that can make it politically difficult to manage.

“We’ll see what kind of agenda they develop,” Austin said, “but our Democrat focus will be on jobs and economic development.”

She added that the supermajority the Republicans are enjoying now may be short-lived. In the mid-term election in two years, Democrats will likely target specific districts around the state in hopes of picking up more seats.

Find Stu Hirsch on Facebook and @StuHirsch on Twitter, or call 640-4861.

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Election 2012
  • austin.jpg Democrats will assume role of ‘loyal opposition’

    Even though Republicans will be able to legislate at will when the General Assembly convenes in January, two local Democrat state lawmakers say that only makes their presence for debate more vital.

    November 10, 2012 1 Photo

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  • slides_democrat04.JPG Lanane takes helm of Senate Democrats

    Indiana Senate Democrats have elected Tim Lanane of Anderson to lead their 13-member caucus in General Assembly. Lanane, an Anderson attorney, has served in the Senate since 1997.

    November 7, 2012 1 Photo

  • 1108 news Indiana House 2.jpg House leader pledges no abuse of supermajority power

    The Republicans’ near-sweep of Tuesday’s Indiana House races now gives them power that mirrors the GOP’s long-held supermajority in the state Senate. That shift prompted new Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane, an Anderson attorney, to offer some advice: “Be careful what you wish for,” Lanane said.

    November 7, 2012 1 Photo

  • elex_pencepresser.jpg Pence pledges to go on with education, tax cut initiatives

    Gov.-elect Mike Pence said he’ll make job creation “job one” when he takes office in January and promised to abide by his campaign’s “Roadmap for Indiana” plan, which includes support for education reforms that voters seemed to reject and a tax cut that legislative leaders oppose.

    November 7, 2012 1 Photo

  • elex_donnellywins.jpg Indiana exit poll: Women aid Donnelly victory

    Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney cruised to victory in Indiana, while Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly won a closely watched U.S. Senate race and Republican Rep. Mike Pence won the governor's contest.

    November 7, 2012 1 Photo

  • 1023 Mike Pence 02.jpg Pence elected Indiana governor to extend GOP control

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