This largely rural northern Indiana district encompasses the cities of Warsaw, Plymouth, Bremen and Nappanee and for 16 years has been represented by Bremen funeral home executive Ryan Mishler.
Mishler his risen through the Indiana Senate ranks on the strength of his financial acumen and in 2017 became chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee, holding huge sway over the crafting of the state’s two-year, $32 billion state budget. He was reelected in 2020 with nearly 75% of the general election vote.
His leadership post has helped him secure funding for key economic development measures in northern Indiana such as the expansion of the South Shore commuter train between South Bend and Chicago, but it also has made him the target of classroom teachers clamoring for pay raises.
As one of the chief architects of the current two-year state budget, he supported a plan to provide more money for schools but left it for individual school districts to decide whether to use it for teacher pay raises. This led thousands of teachers to rally at the Statehouse in late 2019 to demand more pay, arguing that average teacher salaries have dropped 15% since 2000 when adjusted for inflation. Mishler joined other Republican leaders in deciding to defer any action until 2021. – Greg Weaver