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What are your state legislators doing on your behalf? The Indiana House Republicans host a podcast each week to answer this  question and talk about what’s happening in your state government. The podcast features one-on-one interviews with lawmakers who highlight new laws, events and other issues impacting Hoosiers.

Featured post

Spotlight On National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month, and to celebrate, the Indiana Department of Child Services and Indiana Supreme Court are highlighting the state’s adoption program and sharing stories of Hoosier children who have found their forever homes.

The Stories of DCS is a webpage featuring blog posts and a podcast about various adoptive families in Indiana. There is also a social media campaign about the virtues of adoption via Twitter (@IndianaDCS) and Instagram (@VoicesofDCS). Among those stories is the Bower family, who didn’t want their son to be an only child. When their plans to have another baby didn’t work out, they looked into adoption. Over the years they’ve fostered more than 15 children, providing a nurturing environment until they could go home, and fully adopted three of them.

Indiana House Republicans have championed legislation increasing funding for DCS, limiting caseloads for social workers, allowing young Hoosiers to receive foster care services through age 21 and establishing an adoption program within DCS to help our most vulnerable children. These actions helped Indiana rank first in the nation for its increase in the number of adoptions from foster care. Nearly 2,500 Hoosier children were adopted last year. Because of this, the federal government awarded the state almost $5 million to support the Indiana Adoption Program’s continuing efforts to find loving families for foster children.

The work continues. There are more than 1,500 children in Indiana eligible for adoption, with nearly 300 of those seeking new families. National Adoption Day is Saturday, Nov. 21. To help mark the occasion, the Indiana Supreme Court signed a permanent order allowing media to broadcast uncontested adoption proceedings so Hoosiers can witness the joy when foster children are officially united with new families.

Learn more about our young Hoosiers waiting for adoption at IndianaAdoptionProgram.org.

Thank You, Veterans, For Your Service

Wednesday, Nov. 11, is Veterans Day. On this special day, we come together as a nation to honor and reflect on the bravery of the nearly 20 million Americans who have served in the U.S. armed forces.  

Indiana is home to more than 550,000 veterans. To celebrate these local heroes and their families, communities are organizing in-person and virtual programs. From the Tell City Veterans of Foreign Wars ceremony to the Honor Walk at the Baptist Health Floyd and the drive-thru, take-home lunch offered to all veterans in and around Hamilton County, we can safely work to make sure our veterans know they are appreciated.

Be sure to also visit VeteransDayIndy.org at 11 a.m. on Veterans Day to join the virtual service hosted by the Veterans Day Council of Indianapolis, Inc.

We can all also honor military members and their families by:

  • Viewing the Veterans Portrait Project online at VA.gov;
  • Sending flowers and a card to a family who has a loved one currently serving or who has passed;
  • Offering to put a yard flag up at a veteran’s home;
  • Visiting a Veterans Cemetery;
  • Paying for a service member’s meal; and
  • Supporting local veterans’ nonprofits.

To support our veterans, state representatives joined forces with the American Legion, Department of Indiana during the 2020 legislative session to fill about 250 care packages for homeless Hoosier veterans. We also passed legislation supporting students in military families who are transferred to Indiana, helping military spouses secure employment, remembering fallen heroes and expanding tax benefits on military retirement pensions and survivors’ benefits.

To learn more about these initiatives and resources for Hoosier veterans, click here.

Former service members, those on active duty and military families, please know we appreciate and support your dedication to our great nation. We respect you and your needs. Our freedom is costly, and all Hoosiers should come together on Nov. 11 and beyond to honor those who served.

Indiana recognized as one of the best

Many of us choose to live in Indiana because we’re close to family and friends, our low cost of living and our strong communities. As a state, Indiana continues to be recognized as one of the best in the country for our commitment to fiscal responsibility, as a top location for workers and employers, for our long-term investment in our roads and bridges and resolute support of our state’s youngest Hoosiers.

Our strong record of living within our means and saving for rainy days puts us ahead of the curve and positioned our state well to meet the needs of Hoosiers during the pandemic. U.S. News and World Report ranked Indiana second in the nation for the best “long-term fiscal stability.” What does this mean? Hoosiers can count on their tax dollars being wisely invested back into our communities and state. 

We developed a responsible, long-term road funding plan that does not burden future generations with debt. Our comprehensive and sustainable funding program got Indiana recognized by CNBC as No. 1 in the nation for infrastructure. From our state highways to our neighborhood streets and country roads, we continue to see local road improvements and repairs happening.

Because of our low cost of living and workforce training efforts, employers are choosing Indiana to set up shop. Chief Executive Magazine lists Indiana as the fifth best state in the country and the best in the Midwest to do business. This year alone businesses have committed to creating more than 23,000 new Hoosier jobs at more than $27 an hour.

Thanks to our strong fiscal discipline, Indiana added a historic $763 million in new money to our last budget for K-12 funding, with traditional public schools receiving more than 93 percent of the total tuition support. This record investment in K-12 highlights our commitment to our schools.

A strong education system provides equal opportunities for every student to learn and succeed, and a child’s ZIP code or family’s income should not limit their options. In Indiana, we have not only made record investments in our schools, but we have also provided parents the flexibility to choose a school that best meets their child’s needs. We rank third in the nation on the Center of Education Reform’s Parent Power! Index for our school choice opportunities, teacher quality and innovative programs.

Hoosier families are stepping up in a big way. With nearly 2,500 Hoosier youth adopted through the Indiana Department of Child Services in the last year, Indiana currently ranks first in the nation for its increase in the number of adoptions from foster care. Increasing funding for DCS, limiting social workers’ caseloads, allowing young Hoosiers to receive foster care services through the age of 21 and establishing an adoption unit within DCS is helping our most vulnerable throughout the state.

Every life is precious, and House Republicans are working to ensure Hoosier moms and babies have access to critical resources before, during and after birth, and now the state is experiencing the lowest infant mortality rate in its history. We are working diligently to protect our youngest Hoosiers, and these results indicate the start of a trend, not the end.

All these reasons and more make Indiana a great state to call home. We will continue supporting policies that put Hoosiers first and move our state in the right direction.

Halloween Tips For Safe Tricks, Treats

As Halloween gets closer and closer, Hoosiers are excited and brainstorming what to dress as this year. As you make your costume plans, consider these tips from the  Centers for Disease Control on how you can celebrate safely by protecting yourself and others from COVID-19.

The latest CDC guidance reminds Hoosiers to wear a mask and always practice good hygiene. If you plan to hand out candy, consider doing so outside by setting up a station with individually bagged treats for kids to take and avoid direct contact with the ghosts and goblins at your doorstep. If your family plans to participate in trick-or-treating, please know a costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth mask. Instead, find a creative way to make your cloth mask part of your costume.

Other safe, socially distanced activities include carving pumpkins and visiting an orchard or corn maze. The CDC says in order to do this safely, Hoosiers must try to maintain a 6-foot distance from one another. Click here for more tips.

Please be aware of counties coded in red on the Indiana State Department of Public Health’s coronavirus dashboard, as those areas may have more restrictions on gatherings and events for Halloween. To learn about your county, click here and visit the county metric tab.

Celebrating More First Birthdays

Indiana’s infant mortality rate fell in 2019 to the lowest level in state recorded history, marking the third year of decline.

Indiana is stepping up and investing in critical resources to keep moms and babies healthy before, during and after birth, so more families can celebrate their baby’s first birthday. The Indiana State Department of Health released preliminary data showing the statewide infant mortality rate fell from 6.8 per 1,000 births in 2018, to 6.5 in 2019. The mortality rate among Black infants fell from 13.0 in 2018, to 11.0 in 2019. Infant mortality is defined as the death of a baby before their first birthday.

To help protect our youngest Hoosiers, House Republican lawmakers championed a 2019 law creating an obstetrician-gynecologist navigator program to ensure more expectant mothers have access to critical care and support during every step of their pregnancy.

The program, My Healthy Baby, connects expectant and new mothers to early prenatal care, addiction treatment, wrap-around services and home-visit programs. My Healthy baby also provides resources and support for new moms throughout the baby’s first year. The program is implemented in 20 counties so far, with 25 other counties expected to be added next year.

Expectant women, new mothers and individuals from anywhere in the state can call the MOMS Helpline at 1-844-MCH-MOMS (1-844-624-6667) to find resources available in their communities. Click here to learn more.

Early Voting Opportunities for Hoosiers

It is time once again for the American people to decide who represents them in office at local, state and national levels. Although the upcoming general election takes place Nov. 3, Hoosiers do not have to wait to make their voices heard at the ballot box. All Indiana registered voters are eligible and can now vote early in-person through Nov. 2.

When voting early in-person, Hoosiers need to head to designated early voting locations in their counties. To find out where to vote early, contact the county clerk or visit IndianaVoters.com and click on “Find Your Polling Place” to view the hours, dates and locations. A valid photo ID must be presented when voting on or before Election Day.

Another option to vote before Election Day in Indiana is absentee-by-mail. Visit IndianaVoters.com to check eligibility requirements and fill out the online application as quickly as possible. Applications can also be downloaded and mailed, emailed or hand-delivered to the local county office.

Polling places statewide will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3. For more information on the 2020 General Election, including polling locations and to see who is on your ballot, visit IndianaVoters.com.

With 5,000 precincts across the state, 30,000 poll workers are needed on Election Day. Hoosiers can earn up to $150 for their service, and the state is providing masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and disinfectants to local election officials to protect poll workers, election staff and voters. To get started and learn more, contact the county clerk or other local party representative, or visit the state’s website at workthepolls.in.gov.

Investing In Our Local Roads

Applications for the next round of state matching grant funding for local road and bridge projects are now available.

The Community Crossings Matching Grant program, established through a 2016 law championed by House Republicans, provides matching grants to cities, towns and counties for transportation infrastructure projects. Along with maintaining essential infrastructure, Community Crossings grants also stimulate economic development and new job opportunities.

Since launching, Hoosier communities received more than $739 million in Community Crossings grants. Over 200 grants, for a total of $126.5 million, were awarded during the last round of funding in the spring. After a delay due to the pandemic, it is now time to submit applications for the next round of funding.

The state awards two rounds of grants annually through the Indiana Department of Transportation. Local officials can use these funds to rebuild and maintain roads and bridges, replace guardrails and signs, and improve intersections. The process for obtaining Community Crossings grants is competitive, and criteria includes need, road and pavement condition, traffic volume and potential impact on mobility and connectivity in the community.

Counties with fewer than 50,000 residents and cities and towns with less than 10,000 residents contribute 25% of the matching funds, with larger communities contributing 50%. The program requires half of its available matching funds be awarded annually to municipalities with populations of 50,000 or less. The maximum amount given to a community is $1 million annually. Applications for the current round of Community Crossings matching grants are due by 5 p.m. EST Oct. 23, and can be submitted online here. Grant award announcements are expected in late November or early December. Learn more on INDOT’s website.

Expanding Education Options For Students

Every child deserves to thrive and grow, and House Republicans understand that parents are the ones who should be determining where their child learns. In Indiana, families are empowered and have a number of schooling options – including traditional public schools, public charter schools, nonpublic schools, virtual schools and homeschool – to best fit the needs of their child, regardless of where they live or their income. Our state continues to be a leader in school choice opportunities, teacher quality and innovation, ranking third in the nation on the Center of Education Reform’s Parent Power! Index.

A strong education system provides equal opportunities for every student to learn and succeed, and a child’s ZIP code or family’s income should not limit their options. With school choice, families customize their child’s education to ensure they thrive in the right academic environment and learn at their own pace.

Every child learns differently and some schools are better equipped to meet specific health needs, while others offer a completely different learning environment to help students grow outside the classroom. In Indiana, public school funding dollars follow the child, so a student can attend a public school outside their assigned district – the most popular educational choice. Qualifying families can receive a partial scholarship or voucher for their children to attend a nonpublic school.

This ranking reflects the commitment of House Republicans to school choice, and we remain dedicated to offering freedom and flexibility on behalf of all Hoosier children and families. Click here to learn more about your child’s school choice options.

VIDEO: What’s It Like To Intern With The House?

Meet former House Republican interns who are now full-time staff members as they highlight their experience in both roles. Lessons they’ve learned, like showing a willingness to learn and carrying a great attitude, can help future interns get the most out of the opportunity.

Current college sophomores, juniors and seniors, as well as recent college graduates, and law school and graduate students are eligible to apply. This is a great opportunity to gain valuable work experience, learn new skills, strengthen resumes, earn college credits and build a professional network while getting paid.

All majors are welcome to apply online for internships in a variety of areas, including legislative operations, communications and media relations, and policy and fiscal policy. Previous political or government experience is not required. 

These are full-time internships, taking place Monday through Friday, January through April in 2021, at the Statehouse in Indianapolis.

The Oct. 31 deadline to apply is quickly approaching! Click here to learn more about the House Republican Internship Program and submit your application today to join our team.

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