Senate District 29, while relatively small when measured against other districts geographically, extends through a wide range of communities to the north and west of Indianapolis -- from the affluence of western Carmel, Zionsville and Traders Point to the working class neighborhoods of Wayne Township in Marion County. Under its previous configuration -- left relatively intact by the 2021 redistricting -- the district was represented for most of the past decade by Republican Mike Delph, an attorney who was in the vanguard of social conservatives whose presence has grown larger with each election.
But since 2018, Delph has been absent, succeeded by J.D. Ford, a Democrat who became the first openly gay member of the Indiana General Assembly after defeating Delph in his bid for a fourth term, 54%-46%. Ford's victory was widely seen as a reflection of the changing demographics of suburban areas that were realigning -- ever so slightly in and around Indianapolis -- to the Democratic side. Celebating his victory on Election Night, Ford proclaimed, ""Every marginalized group — people of color, women, Muslims, Jewish Hoosiers, seniors, LGBTQ+ Hoosiers, just to name a few — you now have a voice in the Indiana General Assembly. And I only intend to amplify it."
Arriving in a Democratic caucus outnumbered about 4-to-1 in the Senate, Ford almost immediately assumed a high profile among his new colleagues, speaking frequently from the floor and often passionately, especially when the chamber was debating issues related to LGBTQ rights. During the 2022 debate on a bill that would ban transgender females from competing in IHSAA school sports, Ford -- as he had previously -- pushed the chamber's 30-minute limit on speaking from the floor, concluding, "“(This measure) does not solve an issue. It does not bring people together. It does not benefit our state in any way. Why do you press upon the government to solve this issue, which there is no issue?” -- The Indiana Citizen