Friday, July 7, 2017

Kenley Leaves Consequential Legacy

Sen. Luke Kenley-R
Luke Kenley, one of the most consequential Senators in the Indiana Senate over the last 50 years, has decided to retire as of September 30.  Abdul-Hakim Shabazz broke the story on his Indy Politics "Cheat Sheet".

Kenley, a Harvard-educated former Noblesville City Judge, found a second political career in the Senate.  He was first elected in 1992 and was reelected in 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and, most recently, in 2016.  He is the powerful Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

That means that Kenley has been involved in the Indiana budget process for years as Republicans have not been in the Senate Minority since the late 70's.  Kenley has, for better or worse, kept a tight lid on spending and taxes and has helped the state build the surpluses while other states went into debt.  There's not a major budget initiative that didn't cross his desk.

This past session was one of Kenley's most-challenging sessions as the piper got paid for all the purse string tightening on both sides of the equation.  After years of cutting things to the bone while refusing to increase revenue, Republicans raised over 40 taxes and fees in the budget this time around, so that could be one reason why the 72-year-old  Kenley decided to hang it up.  Regardless, Kenley has earned the right to head off into the sunset and enjoy retirement.

When Kenley retires, he will still have two full sessions left on his term in office.  Republican precinct committeepersons and vice precinct committeepersons will gather once Kenley leaves office to fill the vacant seat.  Whoever gets the seat will have those two years as Senator from District 20 to establish himself or herself before facing oppositon in 2020.

In my capacity as a Democratic political blogger, I wish Senator Kenley a warm retirement and congratulate him on going out on his own terms.  Good luck, sir.

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