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January 11, 2011

01/12/11 Our community has been saddened by the death of former Miami County Sheriff Kenny Roland at the young age of 59. Ken had served 28 years on the Indiana State Police prior to becoming the sheriff of Miami County. He filled many roles in law enforcement, including serving as a pilot. Ken flew a small aircraft out of the Rochester airport and did significant surveillance in search of marijuana operations for the Indiana State Police.

Ken was a friend of mine, and someone I liked to visit with to discuss county and state issues. I can recall more than one occasion when Ken would stop me on U.S. 31 to discuss one thing or another. The stops were never a result of bad driving, or resulted in tickets, but I often had more serious concerns because some local or state issues needed attention. I thought it was a novel way to have a private conversation— Ken knew that too.

It is never easy to say good-bye when a good soul departs too early. Ken was a great citizen, servant and contributor for our area and state.

In his quiet way, he made a difference in many lives. I wish the best for his family and trust that the good memories of Ken will far overshadow the terrible cancer that took his life, far too soon. God Bless the Roland family.

On Saturday afternoon, I was able to attend my grandchildren’s (William and Sarah) basketball games held at Denver Baptist Church.  William is seven and Sara is five, so this league is a very formative level where children learn the very basic rules of basketball.  The organizers have referees in striped shirts to conduct the game and give positive instruction to the little kids.  It is interesting to observe the chaos of the 5 year-old players as the referee officiates and teaches.  This involves dribbling, fouling, traveling and shooting. The kids learn, but it is a sometimes comical and painful process.  But the kids have to learn the rules if they are to grow into our Indiana stars of the future.

This observation of mine concerning rules is a method to segue to the actions in the House on January 5.  The minority caucus used obscure and seldom-used rules to slow and obstruct the process.

Why would they take that action?

Typically the first day of session is a day of setting an agenda by the minority party. The Speaker traditionally, sets his agenda on Organization Day. Speaker Bosma announced restoring civility and bipartisanship to the Statehouse. In opposition, Leader Bauer belittled civility and bipartisanship during his time to take the stage.

The election is over. We must put political motives and theatrics aside, and put Hoosiers first.

Members all need to take several deep breaths and relax.  Each of us needs to take the long view and understand that the system needs to be allowed to work.  Bill lists are just lists.  It is the committee action, floor discussion, votes and the governor’s approval that determine the future of legislation. We must let democracy take its course.

Yes, we have to observe the rules that are written for our House operation.  But the rules should not become the tool that serves to obstruct or prevent progress.  The rules of the House should help us pass legislation that benefits all of Indiana.

It’s different from five year-old basketball in some ways, but in many it is the same. 

Take part in your government.

More later,

Bill Friend