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INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana House has joined the Senate in recognizing the value of civility in public life.

Hoosier representatives recently approved House Resolution 17 honoring, and embracing the objectives of, the Community Civility Counts Initiative of the Gary Chamber of Commerce and The Times Media Co.

"It is the goal of the CCC to help transform our communities through positive programs and relationships," the resolution declares. "All citizens must be better so that we can all live in a civil manner and in a civilized society."

The resolution was sponsored by state Reps. Vernon Smith and Charlie Brown, both D-Gary, and state Rep. Donna Harris, D-East Chicago. It passed on an unanimous voice vote.

On Jan. 26, the Senate adopted the similar Senate Resolution 6. That measure was co-sponsored by all 50 senators.

Smith said he hopes the resolution reminds lawmakers, and all Hoosiers, of the need to be humane when dealing with one another.

"To be civil to people doesn't meant that you always agree with them, it doesn't mean that you want to live with them, that you want to dine with them, sleep with them, anything like that," Smith said. "But you have to learn to co-exist with people and to be civil and to be calm as you're interacting with people."

Chuck Hughes, executive director of the Gary Chamber of Commerce, said approval of civility resolutions by both the House and Senate sends a "resounding" message in favor of civility.

"It demonstrates the commitment that our legislators have to make Indiana the kindest place to live and to visit," Hughes said.

Bob Heisse, editor at The Times Media Co., said the Legislature has set a great example, and he hopes its understanding of the value of civility in politics and government spreads far and wide.

"Community Civility Counts began nearly a year ago as an awareness campaign in the Region, and the General Assembly recognition takes it around the state," Heisse said. "It's for everyone and it's certainly needed, particularly in this national election year."

More information about Civility Counts is available online at


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.