State Representative Vanessa J. Summers started in the Indiana House of Representatives in 1991. Upon the death of her father, the late Joseph W. Summers, she filled the unexpired term and has been elected ever since. In February of 2012, she became the first female as well as first African-American to become Democratic Caucus Chairman.
Vanessa’s goals in the Indiana General Assembly include improving the infant mortality in Indiana and all children’s issues. Another interest is the prisoner re-entry program.
Ms. Summers is currently the Coordinator of the National Diabetes Prevention Program at the Indiana Minority Health Coalition in Indianapolis. She has worked for The ARC of Indiana (a statewide advocacy group for people with intellectual disabilities and their families) and the Julian Center Shelter (a domestic violence center). Vanessa is also a funeral director and embalmer for Summers Funeral Chapel, a family-owned and -run business.
Vanessa graduated from St. Mary’s Academy for Girls, attended IUPUI, and received an associate degree from the Indiana College of Mortuary Science, graduating in 1981 and licensed by the State of Indiana.
She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; the NAACP; and Light of the World Christian Church. Vanessa is the proud mother of one son, Trent; and a granddaughter, Emersyn Grace.