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. I am a Lyft driver who is a licensed CDL professional driver. ALL Lyft drivers take pride in providing quality service to the Indianapolis and surrounding areas, and we take the safety of our passengers and the public seriously.(passengers are required to put seat belts on when they get in our cars) We do go through background checks, driving records are checked as are the personal cars we drive, (these are OUR private cars we use) Unlike taxi cabs and their drivers Lyft (and yes Uber) provide passengers with a clean car inside and out, a friendly and courteous driver, and who is dressed appropriately and is groomed appropriately. I go so far as to offer mints, candy and/or small bottle of water to the my customers. It's a mutual respect between driver and passenger. With Best Regards

  2. to be the big fish in the little pond of IRL midwest racin' when yer up against Racin' Gardner

  3. In the first sentance "As a resident of one of these new Carmel Apartments the issue the local governments need to discuss are build quality & price." need a way to edit

  4. As a resident of one of these new Carmel Apartments the issue the local governments need to discuss is build quality & price. First none of these places is worth $1100 for a one bedroom. Downtown Carmel or Keystone at the Crossing in Indy. It doesn't matter. All require you to get in your car to get just about anywhere you need to go. I'm in one of the Carmel apartments now where after just 2.5 short years one of the kitchen cabinet doors is crooked and lawn and property maintenance seems to be lacking my old Indianapolis apartment which cost $300 less. This is one of the new star apartments. As they keep building throughout the area "deals" will start popping up creating shoppers. If your property is falling apart after year 3 what will it look like after year 5 or 10??? Why would one stay here if they could move to a new Broad Ripple in 2 to 3 years or another part of the Far Northside?? The complexes aren't going to let the "poor" move in without local permission so that's not that problem, but it the occupancy rate drops suddenly because the "Young" people moved back to Indy then look out.

  5. Why are you so concerned about Ace hardware? I don't understand why anyone goes there! Every time ive gone in the past, they don't have what I need and I end up going to the big box stores. I understand the service aspect and that they try to be helpful but if they are going to survive I think they might need to carry more specialty parts.

ADVERTISEMENT