IBJNews

2013 WOMAN OF INFLUENCE: Connie Lawson

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
lawson-2-1col.jpg Connie Lawson (IBJ Photo/Eric Learned)

Something Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson learned while meeting Hoosiers around the state: Most people don’t understand what the secretary of state does.

“They may know about being the chief election official,” said Lawson, who spent 16 years as a state senator before her appointment by then-Gov. Mitch Daniels in 2012. “But they’re unfamiliar that we license securities professionals and investigate securities scams. Most don’t know that we license and regulate motor vehicles.”

On the road for two to three days a week, the first woman to serve as a majority floor leader in the Indiana Senate relishes the opportunity to speak to groups around the state, explaining how she encourages financial literacy. That can mean addressing high schools about budgeting and the need for personal fiscal responsibility or senior citizens on protection from investment fraud.

As a businesswoman, it’s something she may understand better than most career politicians.

“Jack and I started from scratch,” she said of the Danville auction business she and her husband own. “He went to auction school at 16. I was clerking in the auctioneering business. It gave me an understanding of what it means to work hard—what it takes to be successful that gives me empathy for what I see on a daily basis. To know what they are going through.”

The second eldest of eight children, Lawson took a caretaking role from an early age. She’s translated that instinct into mentoring and is still in contact with many of the interns she oversaw while in the Senate. “It’s been an important part of my growth to watch them learn about state government and stay interested.”

She traces her own political interest to a county judge who encouraged her to run for county clerk. She was also inspired by her mother, who served as a missionary in Indonesia for eight years after losing her second husband to cancer.

Among the achievements she’s proudest of while in the Senate: the creation of a department of child services separate from the Family and Social Services Administration.

“I also really enjoyed working on the public policy side of mental health issues,” she added. She also authored a resolution encouraging development of employment and training opportunities for people with disabilities.

As chairwoman of the Indiana Commission on Developmental Disabilities, she created a system to keep families together and explore ways to better address the needs of high-cost/high-need individuals. In 2012, Lawson won the Lifetime Achievement Award from Mental Health Awareness of Indiana.

She’s organized community service projects, led canned food drives for Gleaners Food Bank, collected suits and business attire for Dress for Success, raised money and awareness for the Lupus Foundation, and served as honorary chairwoman of the 2013 Walk to End Lupus Now.

State Sen. David Long, president pro tempore of the Indiana Senate, calls her “one of the most diligent, honorable, intelligent and successful public servants I have ever known.”

And Lawson is just as gracious about her colleagues on both sides of the aisle.

“The people that serve are decent people trying to represent their districts,” she said. “It’s hard work. You can’t please everybody.”•

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. How can any company that has the cash and other assets be allowed to simply foreclose and not pay the debt? Simon, pay the debt and sell the property yourself. Don't just stiff the bank with the loan and require them to find a buyer.

  2. If you only knew....

  3. The proposal is structured in such a way that a private company (who has competitors in the marketplace) has struck a deal to get "financing" through utility ratepayers via IPL. Competitors to BlueIndy are at disadvantage now. The story isn't "how green can we be" but how creative "financing" through captive ratepayers benefits a company whose proposal should sink or float in the competitive marketplace without customer funding. If it was a great idea there would be financing available. IBJ needs to be doing a story on the utility ratemaking piece of this (which is pretty complicated) but instead it suggests that folks are whining about paying for being green.

  4. The facts contained in your post make your position so much more credible than those based on sheer emotion. Thanks for enlightening us.

  5. Please consider a couple of economic realities: First, retail is more consolidated now than it was when malls like this were built. There used to be many department stores. Now, in essence, there is one--Macy's. Right off, you've eliminated the need for multiple anchor stores in malls. And in-line retailers have consolidated or folded or have stopped building new stores because so much of their business is now online. The Limited, for example, Next, malls are closing all over the country, even some of the former gems are now derelict.Times change. And finally, as the income level of any particular area declines, so do the retail offerings. Sad, but true.

ADVERTISEMENT