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Pelath: Though Heavily Outnumbered, House Dems Will Push Priorities

Brandon Smith
Indiana Public Broadcasting

House Minority Leader Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City) says it’s the duty of the minority party to offer alternatives to Republican proposals made during the legislative session that starts this week. 

Pelath says income inequality is the most pressing economic issue Indiana faces.  He notes the gap between the highest and lowest earners in the state is the biggest it’s been in decades. 

The House Minority Leader says educating the public on the issue must come first, along with solutions that can have an immediate impact, such as raising the minimum wage.

“And we need to find ways, most importantly, to grow, attract, and retain highly skilled workers with higher income potentials,” Pelath says.

Pelath says ensuring the session is a productive one is also about what lawmakers don’t pass.  He points to potential legislation that would allow businesses, such as florists and caterers, to refuse service to gay couples.  Pelath says issues like that only serve to divide the state.

“Some come to the General Assembly because they really enjoy talking about people’s personal lives.  That’s what drives them; that’s what interests them.  I would ask them to set those interests aside.”

The legislative session is set to begin Tuesday.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.