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INDIANAPOLIS — State Sen. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso, has been re-appointed as chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Provider Services by new Senate President Rod Bray, R-Martinsville.

As committee chairman, Charbonneau will oversee all health-related legislation filed in the Republican-controlled Senate during the 2019 session, and take the lead in deciding which proposals advance for consideration by the full chamber and which die in committee.

"It is a significant responsibility, and I look forward to addressing the myriad of issues related to the health and well-being of every Hoosier during the upcoming session," Charbonneau said.

Charbonneau is the only Northwest Indiana senator selected to serve as committee chairman. Though several Region Democrats are expected to be designated as the ranking minority party senator on multiple committees.

In a surprise move, Bray replaced without explanation longtime Senate Education Committee Chairman Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, with state Sen. Jeff Raatz, R-Centerville.

Kruse later said it was his idea to no longer serve as education committee chairman. He explained that while leading the panel for the past 10 years has been rewarding, it's also been demanding on himself and his family.

"While I've chosen to step down as chair to spend more time with my wife and family, I believe Sen. Raatz will serve this committee well, as he strongly cares about Indiana students and the quality of their education," Kruse said.

Bray, who has succeeded retired state Sen. David Long, R-Fort Wayne, as Senate president, said he's sure that the committee leaders he selected "are well-positioned to take on the challenges before our state."

"Much of the heavy lifting is done at the committee level, and I am confident that these individuals will lead with knowledge, integrity and hard work," Bray said.

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Statehouse Bureau Chief

Dan is Statehouse Bureau Chief for The Times. Since 2009, he's reported on Indiana government and politics — and how both impact the Region — from the state capital in Indianapolis. He originally is from Orland Park, Ill.