Goodin pays tribute to five House Democrats not running for reelection to State Legislature

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana House Democratic Leader Terry Goodin of Austin today issued tributes to the five House Democrats who are not running for reelection and earlier this week fulfilled their final regular legislative session duties.

These legislators include: Rep. Charlie Brown (Gary), Rep. Clyde Kersey (Terre Haute), Rep. Linda Lawson (Hammond), Rep. Scott Pelath (Michigan City), and Rep. Steven R. Stemler (Jeffersonville).

Below are excerpts from the tributes Goodin submitted today as “letters to the editor” of the retiring legislators’ local newspapers:

Rep. Charlie Brown (Gary) | Indiana House District 3:

“Charlie has had so many accomplishments, like fighting childhood obesity, improving childhood immunization, encouraging people to stop smoking, offering assistance to seniors in purchasing affordable drugs through the Hoosier Rx program, enabling home care through the CHOICE program, and establishing parity in mental health insurance.

“Indiana has greatly benefited from the wisdom and hard work of the Honorable Charlie Brown.”

Rep. Clyde Kersey (Terre Haute) | Indiana House District 43:

“There are those who strive to make themselves heard on every issue, and tend to grade their effectiveness by the volume of their lung power.

“Then there are those who go about their business quietly, modestly, effectively. They may not get the attention that others attract, but they tend to be the people everyone listens to when crunch time arrives and we have to make a decision.

“During the past 22 years, the person who has embodied that kind of selfless service to the people of Indiana has been Clyde Kersey, and I find I cannot let him simply end his service in the Indiana House without offering a few words of tribute.”

Rep. Linda Lawson (Hammond) | Indiana House District 1:

“State Rep. Linda Lawson is a legislator of great accomplishment. While I know we have voted differently on some critical legislation, I have the upmost respect for this woman of passion and truth. She has proven to be a voice for equality and justice, who has stood strong and courageously against the tornadic winds of abuse and oppression.

“I sincerely admire this strong woman of integrity and wish her the best the world has to offer. It has been an honor to serve with Rep. Lawson and a great privilege to have known such a remarkable woman and heroine, which she truly is.”

Rep. Scott Pelath (Michigan City) | Indiana House District 9:

“Scott was an effective spokesman for our cause, which focused on those who felt they had been ignored or neglected by government. The successes that were achieved came in large part through his eloquence and persistence. He proved Democrats could have a voice and did not have to accept being ignored.

“For that, I thank him. Scott Pelath is the kind of unsung hero who never gets the attention that is deserved. He defined what is meant by being a true public servant, and his example is one I shall follow in the years to come.”

Rep. Steven R. Stemler (Jeffersonville) | Indiana House District 71:

“It has been my great good fortune to serve with State Rep. Steve Stemler in the Indiana House these past 12 years.

“But simply stating that fact doesn’t do justice to the man, and what he has meant to the people of southern Indiana in that time.

“The normal thing to do when talking about a lawmaker who is retiring is to discuss a list of accomplishments from his time in office.

“So, yes, I can mention the Ohio River bridges and the River Ridge Commerce Center and protecting water rights and fighting to do what’s right for Ivy Tech and Indiana University Southeast. These are things that can be seen on a daily basis by anyone who travels through this area.

“What I will remember most about my friend Steve Stemler is the personal integrity he demonstrates every day, not just in the House chamber.”