Late Tuesday, after emotional debates on issues including gay marriage to drug testing, Fort Wayne Republican Rep. Casey Cox rose to the podium of the Indiana House.
He was presenting his first bill for a full vote of the chamber, and Cox knew what was coming – a rite of passage of sorts when a newbie legislator gets picked on by the veterans.
His bill was simple. It would require the Indiana State Police to conduct a study on the use of familial DNA. That is when law enforcement use DNA collected from one family member to either exonerate or home in on another family member.
After his quick explanation, Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, rose to chat with Cox at the microphone. The tall lawmaker from northwest Indiana regularly questions new lawmakers.
He started by shaking Cox’s hand, and House Speaker Brian Bosma quipped, please extend the hand of friendship and buckle up.
Brown asked what the Criminal Law and Sentencing Policy Study Committee is. Cox answered incredibly specifically, even naming the article and title of the code in which the committee was created to the cheers of fellow members.
This clearly threw off Brown, who simply said, It was very nice to meet you and sat down.
A fourth person, and second Democrat, has filed to run for Congress in the northeast Indiana 3rd District.
Jim Redmond of rural Auburn filed his candidacy Friday with the Indiana secretary of state’s office.
Redmond, 64, works in manufacturing management. He was a Democratic candidate for seats on the DeKalb County Council in 2006 and 2008.
Redmond joins Justin Kuhnle of Kendallville as candidates who have filed to run in the May 6 Democratic primary election in the 3rd District, which includes all or parts of a dozen counties.
Incumbent Rep. Marlin Stutzman of Howe is being challenged in the Republican primary by James Mahoney III of Huntington. Stutzman seeks his third full two-year term in the heavily Republican district.
More hats in ring
Another week of filing for state legislative seats brought out several incumbents and challengers.
All 100 House seats and half of the 50 Senate seats are up for election. The deadline to file to run is Friday.
Here are last week’s primary ballot filings:
Senate District 15 – Former City Councilwoman Liz Brown and County Councilman Darren Vogt joined Allen County Sheriff Ken Fries and local businessman Jeff Snyder on the Republican ballot. Jack Morris is on the Democratic side.
House District 18 – Incumbent Rep. David Wolkins, R-Winona Lake, filed for re-election.
House District 22 – Incumbent Rep. Rebecca Kubacki, R-Syracuse, made her re-election bid official. She faces Curt Nisly of Goshen on the Republican ballot. Attorney David Kolbe of Warsaw is on the Democratic side.
House District 52 – Charlie Odier of St. Joe filed on the Democratic side; incumbent Rep. Ben Smaltz, R-Auburn, is already on the Republican ballot.
House District 80 – Incumbent Rep. Phil GiaQuinta, D-Fort Wayne, filed for re-election.
House District 85 – Freshman Rep. Casey Cox, R-Fort Wayne, is seeking to retain his seat after a caucus appointment late last year. Ken Knoblauch and Denny Worman have also filed on the Republican side.