Opinion and Forefront

MCDANIEL: Delegation, Pacers have many surprises in common

June 1, 2013

McDanielOur delegation is a lot like the Indiana Pacers. Both are young. Both are made up of talented people. Both are generating results sooner than expected. Both are likely to grow to be even more effective for many years to come.

Today, only two Pacers are over 30 years old. The Indiana delegation is also young compared with its peers.

Since 2008, both of our U.S. senators and eight of our nine members of the House have turned over. Sen. Evan Bayh’s surprise retirement after serving two terms, coupled with Sen. Richard Lugar’s primary defeat and departure after six terms, was a huge change even with the return of Dan Coats for a second tour of duty in the Senate.

Outside of Pete Visclosky, who was first elected in 1984, and Andre Carson’s election in 2008, the seven other seats in Congress are all held by Republicans who have served less than three years.

Indiana is not unique—166 of the 435 members of the House have been in office less than three years.

Talent is a major attribute shared between our Pacers and our congressional delegation. The Pacers have active all-star-caliber players in Paul George, Roy Hibbert and David West. When you add the energy and drive of George Hill, Lance Stevenson and Tyler Hansbrough, you have abundant talent.

Our Republican delegation to the House is the most talented group we have ever had. It includes four attorneys, a farmer and a heart surgeon. Todd Rokita served as Indiana’s secretary of state. Jackie Walorski, Marlin Stutzman and Luke Messer served in the Indiana House. Susan Brooks served as U.S. attorney.

The Pacers and the Republican delegation are generating results sooner than expected.

With Democrats controlling the Senate, Republicans the House, and a lame-duck president, the federal government will continue to be paralyzed with gridlock. Add the congressional ban on earmarks, and individual seniority is less important.

It is important that seven of Indiana’s nine House members are in the majority. That fact combined with the large number of turnovers in the House mean new members are getting positions of responsibility much earlier.

Stutzman has a seat on the Committee on Financial Services. Todd Young serves on Ways and Means. Rokita, Walorski and Messer retained seats on the Budget Committee. Brooks is chairing the Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications. Messer was elected president of the freshman class.

The Pacers and the congressional delegation are likely to grow even more effective.

When Granger returns to the Pacers next year and this young team builds on the playoff experience, the long-term future is bright.

The Senate could switch to Republican control in 2014. With an open seat for president in 2016, Republicans have a chance to control the federal government for an extended period.

My prediction: long-term greatness for the Pacers and the Indiana congressional delegation.•

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McDaniel is executive director of government affairs at Krieg DeVault LLP and a former chairman of the Indiana Republican Party. Send comments on this column to ibjedit@ibj.com.

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