The Indiana congressional delegation has been bleeding seniority, a coveted asset in Capitol Hill.
Hoosiers lost 78 years this year because of the exits of U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar, along with Reps. Dan Burton and Mike Pence and 24 years in 2010 when U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh retired and Reps. Baron Hill and Brad Ellworth were defeated.
But in the past week, there was been a restoration of some of the clout, coming from the Republican Class of 2010.
U.S. Rep. Todd Young landed a seat on the House Ways & Means Committee. U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman won a seat on the House Financial Services Committee. Both are so-called “A” committees that aspiring members deeply desire, bringing with them power and prestige for the state.
“These two really set the economic policy for the country,” said a jubilant Stutzman, R-Howe, on Tuesday. “For Indiana, I am so proud of Todd. He’ll represent Indiana interests and our tax policy. He’ll be an ally and a friend for our delegation to go to when it comes to tax issues, trade issues, so many things surrounding that. It’s only going to be that more important over the next couple of years as we talk about tax restructuring. And then, when it comes to financial institutions, it’s about the money supply issues, the Federal Reserve, the big banks, the small banks, community banks, insurance, how does insurance play its role within the economy. All of these are major factors in what’s going to get the economy growing again. To have the two of us on these two committees is a huge gain.”
Young, R-Bloomington, explained, “At this critical time, I look forward to working on things like tax reform to make our country more economically competitive, prepare us for faster private sector job creation, and allow middle income Hoosiers to take home more pay. There’s also a big role to play on trade issues to help our Indiana farmers and manufacturers export more products.”
Stutzman said the competition between Young and Rep. Todd Rokita, another member of the class of 2010, “worked itself out” with Young landing the slot. “We’re behind all the requests by the other candidates,” Stutzman said. “So we get the committees that will help our delegation be the most effective for our state.”
Rokita, a Munster native, was campaigning hard for the Ways & Means slot, emphasizing to his colleagues that he directly contributed and helped raise more than $800,000 for House GOP candidates in the 2012 cycle. Rokita argued that Indiana deserved a Ways & Means seat because of the importance of the state to the Midwestern economy.
Although Young, rather than Rokita, will be helping to make up the seniority deficit, Rokita said he was happy for his home state colleague. “Everyone in the delegation was positive about everyone else and what they wanted,” Rokita said in an HPI interview. “This is another building block in the pillar of cohesiveness we’re trying to build for the state.”