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Mara Candelaria Reardon

State Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon, D-Munster

INDIANAPOLIS — Northwest Indiana will continue to have a prominent role in the House Democratic caucus following a leadership shake-up Wednesday that saw state Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon, D-Munster, elected caucus chairwoman.

She'll serve alongside state Rep. Phil GiaQuinta, D-Fort Wayne, the new Democratic leader; and state Rep. Cherrish Pryor, D-Indianapolis, who was chosen to succeed retired state Rep. Linda Lawson, D-Hammond, as Democratic floor leader.

In her new position, Reardon will lead regular House Democratic strategy meetings as the caucus works to advance its legislative agenda through what will remain a Republican-dominated chamber, despite the GOP losing up to three seats in Tuesday's elections.

Reardon believes she can help Democrats continue their winning ways by using her position as caucus chairwoman to focus on campaign fundraising, candidate recruitment, mentoring new members and improving day-to-day operations in the House.

She's also the first Latina to hold the post in the history of the Indiana General Assembly.

"It's a big opportunity, and it's a big responsibility, and I look forward to the new challenge," Reardon said.

The Democrats did not announce the vote totals in the leadership rematch between GiaQuinta and state Rep. Terry Goodin, D-Austin, which Goodin won prior to the 2018 session, after former state Rep. Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, stepped down as Democratic leader.

GiaQuinta said his focus will be making Democratic candidates more competitive throughout the state, particularly heading into the 2021 session where legislative district boundaries will be set for the next 10 years.

"We're so happy that we've increased our numbers, hopefully by three, maybe more, and so going forward, we need to put forth an agenda that we can all be proud of and all work off of," GiaQuinta said.

The Republican majority re-elected state Rep. Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, as speaker of the House, along with state Rep. Greg Steuerwald, R-Avon, as caucus chairman; and state Rep. Matt Lehman, R-Berne, continuing as Republican floor leader.

Across the Statehouse rotunda, state Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Ogden Dunes, was re-elected as caucus chairwoman for the Senate Democrats, who also retained state Sen. Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, as leader.

State Sen. Rod Bray, R-Martinsville, will succeed retired state Sen. David Long, R-Fort Wayne, as Senate president.

Election Day: Complete Region results

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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.