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Ailing Rep. Pond makes House retirement official

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Area legislatorsí comments:

In news releases, area legislators had this say on Pond’s retirement:
•“Phyllis has been a pillar of strength throughout her career as a state representative dating back to 1978. As a former kindergarten teacher, her insight has been invaluable in all of the education policies that we have enacted throughout her tenure here.
“While she has honorably served her constituents of Allen and DeKalb counties, she has also been a true stateswoman for all Hoosiers over her prestigious career in the legislature.” – House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis)
•“Phyllis Pond has been an amazing public servant for the people of Allen County and the State of Indiana. I’ve known her for many years and have always admired her tenacity, work ethic and spirit. She has been a champion for the people of northeast Indiana and we’ll miss her greatly. I wish her the very best as she focuses on her health and family.” Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne)
•“Allen County was fortunate to have Rep. Pond serve at the Statehouse for the last 35 years. Her contributions to our community and our state have been a positive force for Hoosiers in northeastern Indiana, and I consider it a privilege to have been able to serve alongside her during my first year in office. Her presence will be greatly missed in the upcoming session, but I wish her all the best and have no doubt that she will continue to serve Indiana in any way she can.” – State Rep. Martin Carbaugh (R-81st)
•“My friend, Rep. Phyllis Pond, served an incredible tenure in the Indiana House of Representatives. She used her legislative voice well – crafting bills that served not only her constituents well, but all Hoosiers. Phyllis will be greatly missed in the Legislature. I wish her the best of luck as she attends to health matters.” – State Rep. Dan Leonard (R-Huntington)

Longtime GOP legislator has pulmonary fibrosis.

Saturday, August 31, 2013 - 11:21 am

The answer is: now

When News-Sentinel columnist Kevin Leininger spoke on Wednesday to Rep. Phyllis Pond (R-New Haven), who at 82 is struggling against pulmonary fibrosis, she was waiting to talk to her doctor to see if she could return to the Statehouse one last time for November’s session. That won’t be happening.

Pond, who has lost weight and requires an oxygen machine, submitted her letter of resignation to Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma on Friday.

Allen County’s longest-serving state representative cited in the letter her diagnosis and listed an effective resignation date of Oct. 15.

Pond, a nonsmoker, said earlier this week, “I really appreciate the kindness and confidence that’s been shown to me. I hope I’ve been helpful.”

Pond noted that she is the last of the legislative class of ’78 still serving. A retired teacher after 41 years – 37 of them at New Haven Elementary School – Pond served House District 85, which includes the northeast portion of Allen County. She served on the Ways and Means and Judiciary committees.

In a news release announcing Pond’s retirement, Bosma noted key pieces of legislature that she authored, among them the Primetime Education Bill, which lowered class sizes to 18 in kindergarten through the third grade as well as providing class sizes larger than 18 with a teacher’s aide. She also authored the CLEO law, which developed a plan to assist minority students to attend law school and to one day become lawyers.

For her part, Pond noted earlier this week her work to publicize the problem of the marriage penalty, increased taxes on married couples, to which the government responded. She also pointed with pride to her efforts to free the license bureaus of political patronage and her support for mediation in divorce cases, which she said has reduced courts’ workload and couples’ attorney fees.