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State delegation to Congress may bring less clout, more energy

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The state's delegation to Capitol Hill will be its least experienced in many years, although those new members can bring new energy to Washington, D.C., a former longtime Indiana congressman said.

Besides the loss of Republican Richard Lugar after 36 years in the Senate, last week's election results mean seven of Indiana's nine House members will be in their first or second terms when the new Congress takes office in January.

In all, Indiana will lose 78 years of congressional experience among its senators and representatives.

The seniority loss "certainly is less clout, less power in a sense," said Lee Hamilton, the director of Indiana University's Center on Congress and a Democrat who represented Indiana in the House from 1965 through 1998.

"So Indiana loses in the short run, probably, in terms of seniority, but it has new energy, new people, new perspectives. And the Congress needs that as well," Hamilton told The Journal Gazette for a story Monday.

Indiana will have three new Republican House members.

Susan Brooks will replace GOP Rep. Dan Burton, who didn't seek re-election after 30 years in Congress, and Luke Messer follows Republican Gov.-elect Mike Pence, who has been in Congress for 12 years. Jackie Walorski won the seat that three-term Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly gave up for his successful U.S. Senate campaign.

The Indiana delegation's inexperience will likely show up in committee assignments, where seniority still plays a factor in the pecking order, said Michael Wolf, a political scientist at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.

"Congress is more than just votes," Wolf said. "What you should be looking at is the process, particularly with the committees."

The only members of the Indiana delegation with significant congressional experience are Democratic Rep. Pete Visclosky, who was first elected to his northwestern Indiana district in 1984, and Republican Sen. Dan Coats, who served in the House and Senate for 18 years through 1998 and was re-elected in 2010.

Wolf said Donnelly's six years in the House should help in his shift to the Senate.

Hamilton said capable people can rise to prominence quickly in Congress.

"You want to get there when you're young enough to build up seniority, but you've still got to have the ability, because you're playing in a fast league," Hamilton said.

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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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