By Rep. Randy Frye Daily News
Greensburg Daily News
---- — It has been more than five months since the legislature’s last day in session.
Although the interim has been filled with summer study committees, the atmosphere around the Statehouse simply isn’t the same. Last Tuesday, however, was Organization Day, and the hallways are again buzzing with the excitement that comes with the promise of a new year and the opportunity to improve Indiana for all Hoosiers.
Although the legislature will not meet again until after the first of the year, Organization Day marks the ceremonial start of another session of the General Assembly. This is when new members are sworn in, the first roll call is taken and Democrat and Republican caucuses from the House and Senate are able to meet and organize their priorities for the next session.
Each legislator brings their own bills and ideas to the table, but as a whole, we also have an overall vision for what we want to accomplish. This is what the Speaker outlined on Tuesday. In particular, he spoke of four main goals: bridging the skills gap, encouraging early childhood education, allocating more funding to road improvement and working towards fair business taxation.
While these are specific goals that we are working towards, like last session, we also hope to uphold an air of bipartisanship as we accomplish these improvements. Collaboration and working on a united front in both the House and Senate allowed us to pass major legislation which further catapulted Indiana into the national spotlight in terms of fiscal responsibility and education. Together we made historic investments in public schools, delivered the largest tax cut package in state history and still maintained the strongest reserves in the nation. I want to keep the momentum going.
With the Thanksgiving holiday right around the corner, there was no greater display of bipartisanship than what took place on Organization Day before session convened. Legislators, staff and other state office holders from both sides of the aisle, came together to donate sporting equipment and other items to the Special Olympics of Indiana. This is an organization that has over 11,000 participating athletes throughout the state.
Five athletes were present at the Statehouse to accept the donations, and I was impressed not only by the progress that the Special Olympics has allowed them to make but also the strides the organization itself is making to encourage acceptance of Hoosiers with intellectual disabilities.
If you would like to learn more about the Special Olympics of Indiana and learn how you can also contribute to this cause, please visit www.soindiana.org. It is important to remember that even if you do not have the financial means to donate, there are plenty of other ways to get involved and make a true difference in someone’s life. By becoming a coach, a volunteer or working at your local church, you will be giving life’s most precious resource: time.
When the 2014 legislative session kicks off on January 6, I hope that this sentiment of working together for the common good will carry over. I am already eager to get started as we continue to make Indiana the best place to live, work and raise a family.