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Indiana Chamber, Department of Education launch statewide civics bee for students

Indiana sixth through eighth graders can now participate in the first statewide civics bee.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce and state Department of Education partnered with local chambers to create the competition, through an initiative of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. The aim is to get kids more excited and engaged with civics and their communities.

State chamber Vice President Jason Bearce said it gets to the “heart” of the chamber’s mission — to help people be informed, engaged citizens.

“This seemed like kind of a fun, interactive way for kids to kind of show their civics knowledge but also give the business community kind of a role to play in helping to foster that collaboration,” Bearce said.

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Chamber President-elect Vanessa Green Sinders said civic engagement should be thought of as a business and economic issue.

“Workforce is about education, it is about community — and it involves all of us,” she said.

Participation in the civics bee begins with an essay competition at the local level, through local chambers of commerce across the state. Winners of local civics bee competitions advance to the state level. And the state winner will go to the national civics bee next fall.

There are cash prizes at the local, state and national level.

More details are available at

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

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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.