State Republicans Elect Senate Pro Tem, Jasper Senator Named Majority Leader

WITZ Radio News is an affiliate of Network Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS -- Senate Republicans have picked the chamber's new leader.

Martinsville Senator Rod Bray will be the new Senate president pro tem. Fort Wayne Republican David Long announced in February he'll resign from the Senate after the November election. Republicans are all but assured of keeping their majority, but Bray's selection will still have to be voted on by the new Senate in November, when there will be at least four new senators.

Bray defeated Tax and Fiscal Policy Chairman Travis Holdman (R-Markle) in a closed-door caucus. Bray says the vote totals weren't announced, but says he won by a "comfortable margin." He says Holdman will remain in charge of the fiscal policy panel, but says there will be some "tweaks" to leadership.

Bray says he'll take a collaborative approach, making sure senators have a voice in discussions. He says Republicans will have a proposal next session to address issues at the Department of Child Services, but says it's too soon to say what else will be part of their agenda. That includes some issues which have sometimes divided the caucus, from abortion regulations to hate crimes. Long had pledged to revive the hate crimes bill in 2019 after it stalled in committee, but announced his retirement plans two weeks later. Bray says it's too soon to say what will happen with the bill.

Bray will become just the third Senate President Pro Tem in 38 years. Jasper Senator Mark Messmer was selected to replace Bray as majority leader.