Ober to step down as utility regulator, take lobbying job with Indiana Chamber

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The Indiana Chamber of Commerce has hired former state legislator and current utility regulator David Ober to help lobby the government and advance the organization’s issues.

The chamber said Tuesday that Ober will start his new position as vice president of taxation and public finance in late June. He will replace Bill Waltz, longtime chamber official, who will retire in July.

Ober served House District 82 from 2012 to 2018, representing Allen, Elkhart, LaGrange, Noble and Whitley counties. During his tenure, he served as assistant majority whip for the House Republican Caucus and as chairman of the House Committee on Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications.

Gov. Eric Holcomb appointed him to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission in 2018 and reappointed him in 2020. Ober is one of the state’s five utility regulatory commissioners, who hear cases and hand down decisions on utility rates.

“David is one of the most intellectually curious and thorough individuals I’ve ever come across in the public policy and rulemaking arena,” chamber CEO Kevin Brinegar said in written remarks. “Couple that with his firsthand knowledge of the General Assembly and experience with state fiscal matters and he is an ideal fit for this role.”

Indiana law requires state employees to wait for a year after leaving government to take a job as a lobbyist or with an organization with whom they negotiated any contracts or made decisions that affected their new employer.

The Indiana Chamber is the largest, broad-based business advocacy group in the state, representing businesses of all types and sizes.

Holcomb’s office said Tuesday that Ober notified it that he plans to leave the IURC effective June 22.

With Ober’s departure, the IURC’s nominating committee must convene to evaluate candidates and then submit the nominations of three individuals to the governor to fill the vacated commissioner position. Carol Stephan, former chair of the IURC, has been appointed chair of the nominating committee, which also includes Carolene Mays and Jonathan Mayes.

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