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CHERRISH PRYOR

Democratic Birth Date:

The Pike Township of 1980 was within the city limits of Indianapolis, but much of it qualified as countryside; its population was 25,000, among the lowest in Marion County. Forty years later, its population has more than tripled and with the growth has come a change in demographics. A rural, predominantly white constituency that elected Republicans has been replaced by one that is largely suburban, about 60% African American or Hispanic and much friendlier to Democrats. Indiana House District 94 comprises most of Pike Township and part of neighboring Washington Township, and has been represented since 2008 by Cherrish Pryor, who after receiving her master’s in public affairs from IU rose through the ranks of county and state government. Pryor once interned and later became a legislative assistant in the office of Bill Crawford, the House Ways and Means chair who was the nation’s longest-serving African American in state government when he retired.

Democrats were the House majority when Pryor arrived in 2009, and three of her first authored bills were passed and signed into law, including one that established a fund in the Indiana Department of Education for efforts to reduce dropout rates and another to cover a gap in health care for young adults released from state correctional facilities. Republicans took control of the House after her first term; the most recent of the bills on which she was primary author to pass and reach the governor’s desk was in 2017. In 2020, she introduced a bill backed by newly appointed Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears that would allow police to issue summons in lieu of arresting those charged with misdemeanors that didn’t involve violence or impaired driving; the bill passed the House but did not get through the Senate.

Pryor has advanced into the leadership of her caucus, with the rank of minority floor leader, No. 2 among House Democrats, and she often presents floor arguments for and against legislation. She also chaired the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus in 2017-18. Though it’s rare for amendments from the minority caucus to find their way into legislation on the House floor, Pryor in 2019 introduced an amendment that effectively derailed a Republican-authored bill to dissolve township boards in Indiana; her amendment instead called for a committee to study the issue, and the amended bill later was defeated on the House floor. Pryor notes that despite the difficulty of amending bills from the minority caucus, she’s been able to do it in each year of her tenure.

Democrats have held the District 94 seat since upsetting a Republican incumbent in 1998. Republicans hadn’t contested the past four elections going into 2020, when they ran a candidate who managed less than 15% of the general election vote against Pryor. — Kevin Morgan

CONTACT INFORMATION

(800) 382-9842
200 West Washington Street Indianapolis, IN 46204
http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2020/legislators/legislator_cherrish_pryor_990

EDUCATION

  • BA, Criminal Justice, Indiana University at Bloomington, 1988-1993
  • Certified, Business Administration, Indiana University - Purdue University at Indianapolis, 1993
  • Master's, Public Affairs, Indiana University - Purdue University at Indianapolis

COMMITTEES

Local Government, Ways and Means

KEY VOTES

SB 198-2019 (Sentencing, bias crimes). Allowed longer sentences in crimes based on personal characteristics, stripped of references to sexual orientation, gender identity and race. No

SB 516-2019 (Regulation of hemp). Allowed cultivation and regulation of hemp products in Indiana, did not change marijuana laws. No

HB 1001-2019 (State budget). Set funding for state agencies and services, including 2.5% annual increases for education, though not directly for teacher salaries. No

HB 1004-2019 (School safety). Increased access to funding for security systems and resource officers, was stripped of provisions for mental health screening. Yes

HB 1015-2019 (Various gaming matters). Allowed sports betting statewide and table games in more casinos, relocated a casino in Gary and authorizing a new one in Terre Haute. Yes

SB 1-2020 (Tobacco and vaping). Raised from 18 to 21 the legal age to buy tobacco or vaping products in Indiana. Yes

SB 148-2020 (Zoning and housing matters). Was amended to overrule local tenant protection measures like those in Indianapolis, Bloomington and Merrillville. Vetoed by governor. No

HB 1004-2020 (Health matters). Controlled surprise billing for out-of-network and other costs. No

HB 1070-2020 (Distracted driving). Made it an infraction to handle a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle. Yes

HB 1414-2020 (Electric generation). Prohibited utilities from closing coal-fired generating plants without permission from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. No

TOP CONTRIBUTORS

Bose Public Affairs Group / Bose Mckinney & Evans LLP,  $1,300

Eli Lilly & Co,  $1,000

Indiana Association of Realtors,  $1,000

Indiana Trial Lawyers Association,  $1,000

Trucking Industry,  $1,000

RATINGS

Indiana Manufacturers Association Positions 44
Indiana Manufacturers Association Lifetime Positions 43
Indiana Chamber of Commerce Positions (4 Year Average) 49
Indiana Chamber of Commerce Positions 50
LEAP Forward Positions (Indianna) 100
Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana Positions 100
Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana Lifetime Positions 91
National Rifle Association Candidate Positions on Gun Rights 13
Indiana AFL-CIO Positions 100
Indiana Manufacturers Association Positions 46

PROFESSIONAL CAREER

Chief deputy, Marion County Treasurer’s Office.

DISTRICT

Population: 64,535

Race/Ethnic Origin: 30.3% White, 52.7% Black, 2.7% Asian, 10.7% Other, 3.6% Two or More.