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Veteran state senator Rogers announces retirement

January 5, 2016

One of the longest-serving members of the Indiana Legislature says she won't seek re-election in November.

Sen. Earline Rogers, D-Gary, announced Tuesday that she has decided to retire after serving 26 years in the state Senate and eight years in the House. Rogers said it's time to pass the torch for a new voice.

The 81-year-old Rogers is the Senate minority whip.

Rogers worked to help establish casino gambling in Indiana and helped win legislative approval last year for permanently docked riverboat casinos to relocate on adjacent land. She became known among colleagues as "the mother of casino gambling" due to her longtime work on gambling issues.

Rogers was known to cross party lines on certain issues. She was one of only two Democrats to support Gov. Mitch Daniels' plan to lease the Indiana Toll Road to private investors for $3.8 billion.

In addition to her time as a lawmaker, Rogers spent 38 years teaching in the Gary Public School system. Prior to entering state politics, she spent two years on the Gary Common Council, where she was the first woman elected president.

She said she plans to spend her final session in the Legislature pushing to provide resident tuition rates for children of undocumented residents and to expand pre-kindergarten pilot programs.

According to The Times of Munster, Eddie Melton, a member of the State Board of Education and leader of the Indiana Commission on the Social Status of Black Males, has expressed interest in replacing Rogers.

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