“Hatred is a feeling that leads to the extinction of values”
Working with my community
This past week I held several town hall meetings where we had great discussions on legislation and topics likely to come before the House of Representatives this session. When hosting these meetings, I strive to have open and honest discussions to make you aware of the issues. Communication with my district is vital to my job as a state representative. During our discussions, education, roads and infrastructure funding and civil rights topics were all brought up. I listened thoughtfully to all opinions and concerns, and I will consider them carefully.
Already, solutions have been put in place to address educational concerns. This past year has been a transition to new, more rigorous standards. Two pieces of legislation decoupling ISTEP scores from teacher evaluations and schools’ A-F grades were signed into law last week by the governor. I was happy to share this legislative achievement with those in attendance. Education continues to be a top priority for the Indiana General Assembly, and I am proud to be a member of the House Committee on Education.
In addition to education, I heard concerns about our roads, both local and state. I am confident that our House Committee on Roads and Transportation and House Committee on Ways and Means have devised a long-term, sustainable plan that will not only fix our current roads, but also fund our future infrastructure needs. While there have been several proposals brought forward, House Bill 1001 would provide funding utilizing excess state reserves, establish local options and matching grants, redirect the gas sales tax to roads and bridges and index fuel taxes to restore lost buying power. The House of Representatives is currently considering this bill.
Finally, at the town halls we were able to discuss the issue of including sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected classes in Indiana’s civil rights statute. We didn’t always agree on everything, but I was able to convey my thoughts on the subject while also gaining feedback from our community.
As a state representative, I pride myself in being actively involved in all aspects of the job including reading and responding to the constituent correspondence I receive. Throughout session, I have received upwards of thousands of email blasts from organizations advocating for and against legislation. I welcome all feedback, but recently, these emails blasts have gotten out of hand. When I receive countless emails on a single topic, many of which are not from my district, I am unable to respond in a timely fashion to constituents who write in on other issues. I recognize the need for these emails but would hope that the organizations behind them would understand my frustration.
While I may not always agree with those who contact me on issues, I will continue to listen to anyone who reaches out to me. The feedback I receive from you is invaluable, and I encourage those with questions or concerns to contact me at 317-232-9648 or H58@iga.in.gov. I look forward to hearing from you while I represent our community at the Statehouse.
Rep. Burton (R-Whiteland) represents a portion of Johnson County.