Indiana will have a new Speaker of the House in the next few months as Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) announced his retirement Tuesday.
Bosma has been a state lawmaker for 34 years and has led the House for 12 of the last 16 years, making him the longest-serving Speaker in Indiana history. 2020 will be his last session, a choice he says was a difficult one. But Bosma says he’s proud of his accomplishments.
"Choice for children and families, low-income families. Turning Indiana’s economy around," Bosma says. "Having real balanced budgets."
Other state accomplishments cited by Bosma Tuesday from during his leadership tenure include a highly-rated business climate, Indiana's AAA credit rating, large budget reserves and low unemployment.
Praise for Bosma’s tenure as a state lawmaker and Indiana House Speaker poured in from many corners. In a statement, Gov. Eric Holcomb hailed Bosma's contributions to the state.
"Since the turn of this century, I’ve come to know Brian as a trusted friend, and for that reason alone, he’ll remain on my speed dial," Holcomb said. "Speaker Bosma’s the type of state leader you don’t replace, you only follow."
Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch served in the House under Bosma’s leadership. She calls her fellow Republican an “anchor” who’s provided stability in the legislature.
“He also is progressive and forward-thinking and he will be sorely missed," Crouch says. "His leadership will be missed.”
House Minority Leader Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne) says he saw Bosma grow into the job over the last decade.
“Be more patient with us and things like that, maybe open to more of our ideas,” GiaQuinta says.
Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) has only served alongside Bosma for a short time but says he’ll miss the Speaker’s leadership.
“It’s been a great experience – he has a lot of passion and a lot of vision,” Bray says.
In a statement, Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) thanked Bosma for more than thirty years of public service.
"While we may not have always agreed on the issues, I have enjoyed working with him in leadership as we have always fought respectably to make the best path forward for Indiana," Lanane said.
Many of the most significant pieces of legislation from Bosma's tenure – including some of those he mentioned in his speech – were divisive. Bosma presided over measures to install property tax caps in the Indiana Constitution, create a school voucher program, enact Right to Work, lease the Indiana Toll Road to a private company and move Indiana to Daylight Saving Time.
Bosma will continue to serve as Speaker through the 2020 session. But he says the House GOP caucus will choose a "Speaker-elect" in the next few weeks who will take over the chamber at the end of session.
“Our leadership team will probably coalesce around a single individual, I would think, but that decision’s not been made yet,” Bosma says.
The Indianapolis Republican will then resign from his House seat in May, just after the primary election. That means a Republican caucus will choose someone to fill the seat through November's general election.