Indiana House honors State Rep. Scott Pelath for 20 years of service

March 12, 2018 Scott Pelath

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana House of Representatives today honored State Rep. Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City) upon his retirement after 20 years of service, five of them as House Democratic Leader.

“Leaving the House was just as hard as joining it,” said Pelath. “I have been through countless tough debates, but somehow, listening to such kind words from both sides of the aisle was the toughest. This journey has never been about me, it has always been about the people I have served.”

Pelath was first elected in 1998, beginning a string of ten consecutive election victories and three separate selections as House Democratic Leader.

“When I first arrived, nothing belonged to me. The seat in the chamber belonged to the people,” said Pelath. “I was merely the steward of it. It now will pass on to a new temporary occupant, who I hope feels the same sense of gratitude that I possess.”

Pelath said the only thing he gets to take with him is his knowledge. While addressing members, he shared a number of things he has learned over the years, along with a quote from the final passage of the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius regarding the transience of life and its duties.

Among the lessons Pelath shared were:

• Experience is merely acceptance and knowledge of what we don’t know and can’t control.

• Decisions made based on pride or ego never bring peace or joy, as pride devours what was meant for others, and peace and joy only exist when shared.

• You can vote with your enemy once and find him a friend. You can vote against your friend once and find him an enemy. The latter should not be so.

• It’s okay to be afraid, even though most of what we fear is not real.

• No one else thinks and talks about you as much as you do.

• If you repeat something enough times, most people still won’t hear it.

• We don’t do a single thing by ourselves.

• Politics is what we do instead of violence. The method is of greater importance than the outcome. Outcomes change perpetually. The method, once lost, is lost for an age.

• All Americans value freedom, peace, and equality. They just value them in slightly different proportions.

• You don’t change anyone’s mind. People change their own minds. If you think you changed people’s minds, they were ready to change them, anyway.

• Fear of threats to our pride lies at the root of all unnecessary conflicts.

• If you are unsure whether to say or write something, don’t. Unless the words might be kind, then do.

• There is always at least a 1% chance that someone else is 100% right and a 1% chance that I am 100% wrong.

• We tend to judge ourselves by our intents, and others tend to judge us by our actions.

• Every one of us will be forgotten. Even monuments crumble.

• The best of us make at least one mistake each day. Others may not notice. You must notice.

• Forgiveness is a blessing. If you can’t forgive, act with forgiveness. If that doesn’t work, pray for forgiveness. It will come when the time is right.

Pelath also credited a lesson to George S. Patton, who once reminded that “all glory is fleeting.”

The final day of the 2018 legislative session is Wednesday (March 14). Pelath’s final two-year term expires in November.