Indiana Senate leader Long retiring from Legislature

The Republican leader of the Indiana Senate says he will step down from the Legislature late this year.

david long mugDavid Long

Senate President Pro Tem David Long of Fort Wayne announced his decision Tuesday, saying that his resignation will take effect in November.

Long has served in the Senate for 22 years including the past 12 as the Senate leader. He spent eight years as a Fort Wayne city councilman prior to his service in the Senate.

Republicans hold a commanding 41-9 majority in the Senate, and those GOP members will pick a new leader next fall.

Long won re-election in 2016, so his term doesn't expire until 2020, but the 62-year-old said it is time for him to step away from elected office.

“It’s difficult to leave a job that you love and that you believe you were born to do,” Long said in written comments. “However, none of us is indispensable, and you have to know when the time is right to step away. For me, that time is now.”

Long said he considered his top legislative victories to include property tax caps and other tax reductions, the Right to Work law, school choice and balanced budgets for 13 straight years.

“I’m not foolish enough to claim credit for all of these accomplishments,” he said. “However, I do feel that I played a key role in helping to shape them and shepherd them over the finish line, and I take great pride in that.”

Long said will continue to be a practicing attorney. He is employed as general counsel to Pizza Hut of Fort Wayne Inc.

"I'm not ready to sit on a beach all day," Long said during a Statehouse press conference flanked by his wife, Melissa, a former Fort Wayne TV news anchor. "I intend to continue to work, just on my own terms."

Long declined to endorse a successor, though he said several senators would be good candidates, including current Majority Floor Leader Rodric Bray of Martinsville. Sen. Travis Holdman of Markle is also considered a top contender. On Tuesday, Holdman said simply: "I'd never close a door."

Long's announced departure comes after former Senate budget writer Luke Kenley retired after the 2017 session, and Senate floor leader Brandt Hershman quit in January to take a job in Washington D.C.

"It's difficult to leave a job that you love and that you believe you were born to do," said Long. "However, none of us is indispensable, and you have to know when the time is right to step away. For me, that time is now."

Several other high-profile Statehouse leaders have also announced plans to leave the Legislature, including longtime Reps. William Friend and Kathy Richardson, both Republicans, as well as Scott Pelath, who was Democratic Minority Leader until November 2017.

“President Pro Tem David Long has played a critical role in Indiana’s transformation to a state with a top-rated business climate, strong economy and record of honestly balanced budgets,"  House Speaker Brian Bosma said in written remarks. "Under strong Republican leadership, our state continues to lead the way as the fiscal envy of the nation while boasting the No. 1 ranked state government. David has helped drive Indiana’s success story, and his leadership and experience will be sorely missed at the Statehouse. It’s been an honor to serve alongside him and call him my friend.”

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