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NEWS-SENTINEL EDITORIAL: Huston has opportunity to learn from Bosma

Fast on the heels of Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma’s announcement he will retire in 2020 was Monday’s news that his replacement will be Rep. Todd Huston.

News-Sentinel.com offers our best wishes to the representative from Fishers in the transition as well as our appreciation to Bosma for his dedicated service in the Indiana House since 1986.

The 62-year-old Bosma, R-Indianapolis, is the state’s longest-serving House speaker, holding the position in the chamber since the 2011 session. He had previously held the post from 2004-06.

Following unanimous approval by House Republicans in a private caucus Monday, they announced that Huston, 47, R-Fishers, will be sworn in as speaker of the Indiana House when Bosma officially retires at the end of the 2020 session of the General Assembly in March. Huston was Bosma’s choice for the job, and there were no other challengers for the position.

In the meantime, in an unusual transition, Huston will essentially shadow Bosma throughout that legislative session, serving alongside him as “speaker-elect,” learning on the job.

When Bosma announced his pending retirement at Organization Day Nov. 19 (the ceremonial first day of the coming session), he said he would be involved in picking and training the new speaker.

“I want to work closely with Rep. Huston throughout the session so he can see every aspect of this job,” Bosma said at a news conference at the Statehouse Monday. “Most of it you see, and most of it the members see is out here at the podium. The vast majority of the job is conducted elsewhere, behind the scenes trying to bring policies to a close and people together to move Indiana in the right direction.”

“This is truly an honor and a privilege to have this opportunity,” Huston said at the news conference, “made certainly easier by being under the mentorship of somebody I have such great a respect for as Speaker Bosma.”

Huston said he looks forward to working with Democrats, and made a point to build a bridge with Minority Leader Phil GiaQuinta of Fort Wayne.

“I love Leader GiaQuinta,” Huston said in an Indianapolis Star report. “I think Phil GiaQuinta is one of the finest people I know. I appreciate a place where we can agree to disagree, but we can also say that we really enjoy each other. And I don’t want to change that.”

GiaQuinta issued a statement on Huston’s selection, saying he looks forward to a healthy and vigorous debate on the issues.

“Indiana House Democrats are ready to serve Hoosiers first by making health care more accessible and affordable, ” he said, “providing children with quality care that their parents can afford, investing in public education, giving teachers the pay raise they deserve and ensuring that our children can go to school to learn in a safe environment.”

While some Democrats think Huston is not a friend of education, he said teachers should not be worried about his new role in the Legislature.

“I think anybody that knows me knows the appreciation and gratitude I have for teachers, and I wouldn’t anticipate that will ever change,” he said at the news conference.

Huston is a senior vice-president of the College Board, the company that administers the SAT college admissions test and high school advance placement exams. He was the state Republican Party treasurer and was chief of staff for GOP former Indiana Superintendent of Instruction Tony Bennett from 2009-10.

Huston was first elected to the Legislature in 2012 representing District 37 in Hamilton County in the northern Indianapolis suburbs. He previously served as deputy speaker pro tempore and was co-chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee to help negotiate the new two-year state budget earlier this year. Bosma appointed him to fill the position after committee Chairman Tim Brown was severely injured in a motorcycle accident in October 2018. Brown has fully recovered, by the way, and will resume his role as chairman of Ways and Means this year, while Huston will remain a member of the committee.