State Representative Sheila Klinker was elected to the Indiana House of Representatives in 1982 to represent Indiana House District 27 (serving parts of both Lafayette and West Lafayette).
A proud Boilermaker, Representative Klinker received her bachelor’s and two master’s degrees in education from Purdue University. She is a former teacher who taught for over 34 years in the Lafayette School Corporation and worked as the Outreach Liaison for the Purdue School of Education for 15 years.
Early in her legislative career, Representative Klinker was appointed Chair of the Legislative Interim Study Commission on Developmental Disabilities. She has worked tirelessly toward advocating for the rights of children and families, as well as individuals who are mentally ill or developmentally challenged.
As a leader on the House Ways and Means Committee, Representative Klinker is a tenacious advocate for funding home- and community-based services for elderly people or those with mental illnesses and addictions. She also sponsored the 529 College Savings Fund to help parents and grandparents donate money for post-secondary or higher education to their family members. This results in receiving adjusted gross income tax credit for those folks.
The list of legislative initiatives by Representative Klinker to improve Hoosier lives is extensive. She has pushed legislation in all levels of education, prenatal substance abuse initiatives, First Steps, guardianship issues, veterans’ issues, protection and advocacy issues, as well as most recently authoring legislation to create Lifelong Learning Accounts (LiLAs) for low-income working adults pursuing education or job training.
Awards presented to Representative Klinker in the past include: The Lifetime Achievement Award from the Arc of Indiana, the Indiana Residential Facilities Association’s Legislative Efforts Recognition Award, Indiana Advocates for Children (GAL-CASA) Outstanding Services Award; Woman of Distinction Award from the Sycamore Girl Scout Council; Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) Salute to Women in Politics Award; Indiana Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers Special Recognition Award; Indiana Association for Counseling and Development’s Legislative Service Recognition Award; the Disabled American Veterans’ Legislator of the Year; and in October, 2017, she was honored as a Distinguished Alumnus from the Purdue College of Education.
Klinker was named “Miss Purdue” and finished as second runner-up in the “Miss Indiana” contest, winning a scholarship. She also recently served as the Grand Marshall of the 2018 Purdue Grand Prix.
Representative Klinker lives in Lafayette with her husband, Victor. They have three children and five grandchildren.