Leadership is the most underrated element of success in any endeavor. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln: With strong leadership, nothing can fail; nothing can succeed without them.
Indiana has produced its fair share of dispositive leaders over the past 200 years. Mitch Daniels, Julia Carson, Oliver Morton, Richard Lugar and Andy Jacobs come to mind.
Of course, our litany isn’t just limited to politicians. John Wooden, Madame CJ Walker, Jim Morris and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Sammy Davis have inspired others to reach heights they might otherwise not have reached.
When truly effective, leadership is passed on to future generations. We learn from those who have blazed their own trail and left their own legacy.
Hoosiers are fortunate to have stable, principled leadership in the Statehouse as we begin the 2023 legislative session in the General Assembly.
And it starts with Speaker of the House Todd Huston.
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The list of Indiana speakers is excellent. Birch Bayh, Richard Guthrie, John Gregg and Brian Bosma all served with honor and distinction. The position requires both because of the widespread belief that the Speaker of the House of Representatives is the most powerful person in state government during the legislature.
Huston, a Republican first-round speaker in 2020, has the temperament, along with a true desire to work with Democrats, that we need to keep Indiana moving.
In a metaphor that has been around since our country was founded in the 18thth Century the Senate is said to be the saucer that cools the cup of the house. In our vast fortune, Huston is a leader who can keep things cool.
Leading a supermajority is Huston’s primary task. Keeping 70 dissenting Republicans happy and focused is an almost Sisyphean effort in their demands; It takes the respect of your peers and the ability to lead without ego.
Huston has both of these qualities and more.
A member of a prominent political family, Huston is both a solid conservative and one of the best listeners I know. He understands that bold and constructive ideas can come from members of both parties, and more likely from Hoosiers who have no connection to politics at all.
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Huston reiterated his leadership style when he made his remarks to lawmakers on Organization Day in November.
Huston outlined issues important to both him personally and the state in general, stating, “We live in an era of great opportunity — individually, as a corporation, and as a state.”
He went on to explain: “Too often our first answer to a problem is: how is the government going to solve it? This question should not be the first question we ask. It should be our last resort.”
Huston recognizes both the progress Indiana has made and how much more needs to be done. As a recognized expert on educational issues, the speaker has made it clear that investing in educational decisions is critical for parents.
And add reducing our skyrocketing healthcare costs to the speaker’s list of priorities. Huston’s willingness to engage in “awkward conversations” with healthcare facilities and to claim that “current cost trends are simply unsustainable” are prime examples of his penchant for boldness and candor.
At a time when national Republican legislators can’t seem to get out of their way (how many ballots did it take to choose the US speaker?), Huston’s approachable and consistent leadership is exactly what Indiana needs and Hoosiers deserve .
Robert Vane is a director of public relations firm Veteran Strategies Inc. He was Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of Communications in Mayor Greg Ballard’s administration and served in the US Army.