Long-serving House Democrat won’t seek re-election

Another top-ranking Democrat in the Indiana Legislature has decided to not seek re-election after this year's session.

Rep. Linda Lawson of Hammond says she'll finish out her term and then give up the seat she first won in 1998.

The second-ranking House Democrat, Lawson was elected Indiana House Democratic Floor Leader in 2012. She served six years as House Judiciary Committee chairwoman when Democrats controlled the chamber.

Lawson is a retired Hammond police officer. She told The (Northwest Indiana) Times that the climate in the Legislature has become "toxic" with Republicans holding large majorities in recent years and ignoring Democrats.

"I feel like a stranger in this building, and it's not that I don't belong, it's that I don't fit here, anymore," Lawson said.

Lawson's decision comes after Rep. Scott Pelath of Michigan City stepped down as House minority leader in November. House Democrats picked Rep. Terry Goodin of Austin as their new leader.

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