Region lawmaker honored for practicing civility at the Statehouse

A Northwest Indiana lawmaker has been recognized for his civility at the Statehouse by an organization whose members know better than anyone just how hard that sometimes can be.

The Association of Retired Members of the Indiana General Assembly recently presented state Rep. Earl Harris Jr., D-East Chicago, with its 2022 Civility in Government Award.

The award recognizes the lawmaker who best shows courtesy and respect to other legislators and the public, exhibits politeness and appreciation for the rights and responsibilities of others, communicates to develop trust and find common ground, maintains emotional control and demeanor and holds the belief the Legislature is a valuable institution and it’s a privilege to serve.

Harris said “it is truly an honor” to be selected among House Democrats for this year’s award. State Rep. Tom Saunders, R-Lewisville, was the House Republican civility award winner.

“Every session, I come to the Statehouse with the goal of working collaboratively to achieve positive results for Hoosiers,” Harris said. “This session was no different, and I am proud of the relationships I’ve built on the other side of the aisle.”

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Harris credited his relationships with Republicans for helping to advance to the governor’s desk this year three measures he co-sponsored, including House Enrolled Act 1242, expanding state contracting opportunities for minority-owned and women-owned businesses, as well as nonprofit agencies for individuals with disabilities.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb already has signed into law the two other Harris proposals: Senate Enrolled Act 294, updating the policies, training programs and best practices for the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy Training Board; and Senate Enrolled Act 251, joining the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact to enable some medical professionals licensed in other states to also practice in Indiana.

“Making these strides in reforming policing, expanding provider options and supporting minority-owned businesses would not have been possible without the relationships I’ve built while serving the great people of Northwest Indiana,” Harris said.

He said all legislators should strive to forge relationships built upon mutual respect and understanding to move Indiana forward.

“It is my duty as a legislator to listen, find common ground and work together whenever and wherever possible. Hoosiers deserve that from their elected officials and should expect nothing less,” Harris said.

Harris was first elected to the Indiana House in 2016. He’s currently running unopposed for a fourth two-year term.

He succeeded his mother, former state Rep. Donna Harris, D-East Chicago, who was appointed in 2015 to fill the House District 2 seat of her husband, state Rep. Earl Harris Sr., D-East Chicago, following his death at age 73 after representing East Chicago for 33 years in the House.

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Region lawmaker honored for practicing civility at the Statehouse

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