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Indiana Black Legislative Caucus launches latest town hall series around the state

Earl Harris, Junior speaks to reporters in the foreground, while Robin Shackleford and Andrea Hunley are to the left in the background. Harris is a Black man with dark hair, wearing a suit and tie. Shackleford and Hunley are Black women with dark hair. Shackleford is wearing a green jacket and top, while Hunley has a white jacket over a blue top.
Brandon Smith
IPB News
Rep. Earl Harris, Jr. (D-East Chicago), right, is the chair of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus.

The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus will launch its annual town hall series Saturday, visiting six cities over the next few months.

Black Caucus Chair Earl Harris, Jr. (D-East Chicago) said the meetings provide lawmakers a chance to inform people about new laws and get feedback on the issues Hoosiers want to see addressed.

“I mean, as much as I would like to say that every legislator is a genius and creates ideas on their own, the reality is we get ideas from other people — including the people we represent,” Harris said.

Unlike the last few sessions, the Black caucus didn’t have much success with its core agenda this year, as Republicans largely ignored the caucus’s bills aimed at helping increase access to affordable housing.

READ MORE: Here's what Indiana's Republican gubernatorial candidates have to say about housing

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Harris said that won’t affect the town halls, as lawmakers will make sure people know that legislation sometimes takes years to finally make it through.

And Harris said housing access will continue to be at the forefront of the caucus’s work.

“More and more people are finding it harder to be able to do that because of some of the things happening,” Harris said. “And we want to put in our best effort to make it easier for people who want to have that American dream of homeownership be able to have it.”

The town halls will be in Lawrence, Evansville, Elkhart, Michigan City, Fort Wayne and Gary.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.