Times Staff Report
INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana House Speaker B. Patrick Bauer (D-South Bend) selected State Representative Nancy Michael (D-Greencastle) to fill two House leadership positions in her first session as a lawmaker.
On Thursday, Bauer announced that Michael would serve as Assistant Whip for the House Democratic Caucus and be vice chair of the House Local Government Committee. The 2009 session of the Indiana General Assembly resumes in January.
"I know that it is unusual for a first-term legislator to take on such a large leadership role, but my appointments reflect the great faith that I have in Nancy Michael as one of the future leaders of this state," Bauer said.
"She comes to Indianapolis with great experience in local government, and the wisdom she brings to the table will help us as we enter a session where we must pass a biennial state budget that finds a balancing act between funding critical programs and maintaining fiscal sanity at a time when our country is in a national recession," Bauer continued. "I look forward to taking full advantage of her insights."
In her post as Assistant Whip, Michael will help gauge the feelings of Indiana House Democrats about the issues before the legislature, then work with leadership to find answers on crucial public policy questions.
"Our caucus contains people who represent a diversity of interests and it will be a challenge to find the compromises needed to enact sound public policy," Michael said.
"It is a challenge I look forward to taking. There can be no greater honor than to work on behalf of the people of Indiana and to have the chance to benefit so many lives."
In her committee position, Michael will join Local Government Chairman Vernon G. Smith (D-Gary) in advancing legislation that can assist residents of communities across Indiana.
"Of course, one of the biggest issues we will be dealing with in the 2009 session will be the Kernan-Shepard Commission's Report on how local government services are delivered," Michael said. "I suspect the Local Government Committee will serve as a sounding board for many of these proposals.
"As someone who has spent a lot of time in local government, I believe that we need to look at the recommendations of this report with a careful eye and make sure that any changes we make result in better delivery of services to residents. These issues must be debated and I look forward to taking part in discussions."