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New Indiana members of Congress settle in to roles

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Indiana's congressional delegation has some new faces — and with them a new, rightward tilt.

Four new Republicans began representing the state in the U.S. House on Wednesday as the 112th Congress began: Reps. Todd Young, Todd Rokita, Marlin Stutzman and Larry Bucshon. They join another newcomer — albeit one with a familiar face — in the U.S. Senate, where former GOP Sen. Dan Coats is taking over the seat vacated by Democrat Evan Bayh.

Like the rest of Congress, Indiana has shifted back toward Republicans after four years of solid Democratic gains. The GOP now holds six of Indiana's nine House seats and both of its Senate seats. In the 111th Congress, Democrats held five House seats and one of the state's Senate seats.

The switch has meant an almost immediate 180-degree shift in rhetoric and priorities for Indiana's congressional delegation, a change that was already obvious on Wednesday.

Take Young, who is representing Indiana's 9th District. He's replacing former Democratic Rep. Baron Hill, who was a strong supporter of President Barack Obama and provided key votes on a number of issues including Obama's signature health care plan.

One of Young's first priorities? "I intend to sign on as a co-sponsor to repeal and replace this health care legislation," Young said in an interview Wednesday.

Along with his new cohorts, Young has spent the last few days in a whirlwind of orientation sessions, learning how Congress works and meeting his new colleagues. He said he is acclimating quickly: "We've graduated from the 'where's the bathroom' stage," he said.

His next step, he said, will be pushing a slew of issues that helped Republicans ride back into power. Besides health care, he wants to work on finding ways to reduce the deficit and creating new jobs in the private sector.

On the other side of the Capitol, newly sworn in Sen. Dan Coats hit similar points.

There's less orientation involved for Coats, who previously served in the Senate from 1989 to 1999. But Coats said there are new colleagues to meet and what he called a "new spirit" in the chamber.

Coats is critical of Obama for what he called poor management of the deficit, and said the health care law has to change. He also lambasted the previous Congress' efforts at job creation.

"We have a chance now with Republicans controlling the House and with more sway in the Senate to effectively present a message," he said.

Rokita, who is taking over for GOP Rep. Stephen Buyer in Indiana's 4th District, agreed. He said the new additions to Indiana's congressional delegation are united by a sense of common purpose.

"We're here on a mission," he said. "This is the starting line not the finish line. So today is not so much a celebration or a time to dwell on the accomplishment of getting elected, it's time to get to work."

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  • New Congress?
    I have been reading on Politico about the congressmen who are hiring registered lobbyists for their staffs. In Indiana we don't have to worry about that; we have a lobbyist for our new Senator. I'm interested in the rest of the Indiana congressmen and who they hire for advice. I think the lobbyists will control the 112th Congress. The "new spirit" looks a lot like the past; special interest strikes again.
  • GO TODD!
    Now the real work begins, do it well.

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  1. I had read earlier this spring that Noodles & Co was going to open in the Fishers Marketplace (which is SR 37 and 131st St, not 141st St, just FYI). Any word on that? Also, do you happen to know what is being built in Carmel at Pennsylvania and Old Meridian? May just be an office building but I'm not sure.

  2. I'm sorry, but you are flat out wrong. There are few tracks in the world with the history of IMS and probably NO OTHER as widely known and recognized. I don't care what you think about the stat of Indy Car racing, these are pretty hard things to dispute.

  3. Also wondering if there is an update on the Brockway Pub-Danny Boy restaurant/taproom that was planned for the village as well?

  4. Why does the majority get to trample on the rights of the minority? You do realize that banning gay marriage does not rid the world of gay people, right? They are still going to be around and they are still going to continue to exist. The best way to get it all out of the spotlight? LEGALIZE IT! If gay marriage is legal, they will get to stop trying to push for it and you will get to stop seeing it all over the news. Why do Christians get to decide what is moral?? Why do you get to push your religion on others? How would legalizing gay marriage expose their lifestyle to your children? By the way, their lifestyle is going to continue whether gay marriage is legalized or not. It's been legal in Canada for quite a while now and they seem to be doing just fine. What about actual rules handed down by God? What about not working on Sundays? What about obeying your parents? What about adultery? These are in the 10 Commandments, the most important of God's rules. Yet they are all perfectly legal. What about divorce? Only God is allowed to dissolve a marriage so why don't you work hard to get divorce banned? Why do you get to pick and choose the parts of the Bible you care about?

  5. Look at the bright side. With the new Lowe's call center, that means 1000 jobs at $10 bucks an hour. IMS has to be drooling over all that disposable income. If those employees can save all their extra money after bills, in five years they can go to the race LIVE. Can you say attendance boost?

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