State Rep. Sheila Klinker
State Representative Sheila Klinker was first elected to the Indiana House of Representatives in 1982 to represent Indiana House District 27 (serving parts of both Lafayette and West Lafayette).
Klinker is a member of the Education, Veterans Affairs and Public Safety, and Ways and Means committees.
A proud Boilermaker, Klinker received her bachelor’s degree in education and two master’s degrees, one in elementary education and one in administration and supervision, from Purdue University. She is a former teacher who taught for more than 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, Klinker was appointed chair of the Legislative Interim Study Commission on Developmental Disabilities. She has worked tirelessly advocating for the rights of children and families, as well as individuals who are mentally ill or developmentally challenged. In particular, Klinker was a strong advocate for the First Steps program, which provides services to infants and toddlers age 0 to 2 who have developmental delays or disabilities. She also advocates that children age 3 to 5 receive these invaluable services.
As a leader on the House Ways and Means Committee, Klinker is a tenacious advocate for funding home- and community-based services for elderly people and those with mental illnesses and addictions. She also sponsored legislation creating the 529 College Savings Fund to provide tax benefits to parents and grandparents who donate money for post-secondary or higher education for their children and grandchildren.
The list of legislative initiatives by Klinker to improve Hoosier lives is extensive. She has pushed legislation improving all levels of education, prenatal substance abuse initiatives, 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 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 Service Award; Woman of Distinction Award from the Sycamore Girl Scout Council; Young Women’s Christian Association 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.
As a college student, Klinker was named “Miss Purdue” and finished as second runner-up in the “Miss Indiana” contest. She also recently served as the Grand Marshall of the 2018 Purdue Grand Prix.
Klinker lives in Lafayette with her husband, Victor. They have three children and five grandchildren.
Rep. Sheila Klinker has pushed legislation improving all levels of education, prenatal substance abuse initiatives, First Steps for children 0 to 2, preschool disability services for children 3 to 5, guardianship issues, veterans issues, protection and advocacy issues, as well as most recently authoring legislation to create Lifelong Learning Accounts for low-income working adults pursuing education or job training.
- The Lifetime Achievement Award; Arc of Indiana
- Legislative Efforts Recognition Award; The Indiana Residential Facilities Association
- Outstanding Service Award; Indiana Advocates for Children (GAL-CASA)
- Woman of Distinction Award; Sycamore Girl Scout Council
- Salute to Women in Politics Award; Young Women's Christian Organization
- Special Recognition Award; Indiana Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers
- Legislative Service Recognition Award; Indiana Association for Counseling and Development
- Legislator of the Year; Disabled American Veterans
- Distinguished Alumnus; Purdue College of Education
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