INDIANAPOLIS | Two of Northwest Indiana's five Republican state representatives will be chairmen of House committees when the General Assembly convenes Jan. 7. Region Democrats will serve as the top minority party member on six House committees.
State Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, was selected last week by House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, to continue as chairman of the Roads and Transportation Committee.
He's tasked with finding a way to pay for construction and maintenance of Indiana highways now that the proceeds from the Indiana Toll Road lease have been spent and gas tax revenue is declining as vehicles are more fuel-efficient.
Bosma also chose state Rep. Douglas Gutwein, R-Francesville, whose district includes most of Newton and Jasper counties, to remain chairman of the Employment, Labor and Pensions Committee.
Heading up the Higher Education Subcommittee on the budget-writing Ways and Means Committee will be state Rep. Tom Dermody, R-LaPorte. Newly elected state Rep. Hal Slager, R-Schererville, an accountant by trade, also will serve on the powerful Ways and Means Committee, along with state Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon, D-Munster.
Northwest Indiana Democrats will be the ranking minority party members on six committees, including state Rep. Vernon Smith, D-Gary, on Education; state Rep. Chuck Moseley, D-Portage, on Employment, Labor and Pensions; and Candelaria Reardon on Government and Regulatory Reform.
The other three are state Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, on Public Health; state Rep. Earl Harris, D-East Chicago, on Interstate and International Cooperation; and state Rep. Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, on Joint Rules.
All legislation introduced in the House is assigned to a committee where lawmakers review each proposal, hear public testimony and make changes before deciding whether to return the measure to the full House for a final vote.
In addition to their committee assignments, Pelath is leader of the 31 House Democrats, state Rep. Linda Lawson, D-Hammond, is his deputy and state Rep. Shelli VanDenburgh, D-Crown Point, is assistant caucus chairwoman.
On the leadership team for the 69 House Republicans, Dermody is the assistant majority floor leader while Soliday serves as assistant majority whip.