Republicans tap deputy speaker to replace departing Bosma

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Indiana House Republicans selected Fishers Rep. Todd Huston on Monday as their choice to become speaker-elect and succeed Speaker Brian Bosma after he retires next year.

Bosma, the longest-serving House speaker in Indiana history, announced last month that he would step down from his leadership position at the end of the 2020 legislative session and not seek reelection. He’s leaving to become the next national chairman of the Republican Legislative Campaign Committee.

The entire House will still need to vote for the next speaker, and Bosma said he hopes that will happen within the last few days of the 2020 session. Huston, the current deputy speaker pro tempore, would then be sworn in as speaker before lawmakers adjourned for the year. Republicans have a supermajority in the House.

Huston represents House District 37, which covers portions of southern Hamilton County. He became co-chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee during the 2019 session and played a big role in crafting the 2020-2021 state budget.

He also helped lead the effort behind the massive gambling bill that legalized sports betting and opened the door for a new casino in Terre Haute, even though he voted against the legislation in the final House vote earlier this year.

Huston, 47, became a state lawmaker after winning election in 2012.

The 62-year-old Bosma was first elected in 1986 and has served four nonconsecutive terms as House speaker.

Bosma said the Republican caucus unanimously selected Huston, who was the only lawmaker to formally seek the position.

“I am truly pleased and confident for the future of our state by having Rep. Huston put himself out to take this important role on,” Bosma said.

The second-highest ranking Republican in the House, Rep. Matt Lehman of Berne, said he believed the next speaker needed to be someone with a vision, integrity and strong leadership.

“Todd Huston met all those marks,” Lehman said. “I think our caucus has chosen the right person to lead us in the future.”

Bosma said he will work closely with Huston during the 2020 session so he can learn all of the aspects of the job. Huston will no longer serve as co-chair of the Ways and Means Committee, while state Rep. Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville, will resume his role as full chairman.

Huston said he plans to continue Bosma’s leadership style, but he acknowledged that he has less experience than the current speaker, so he will likely lean on the rest of the leadership team more than Bosma has in the past.

“I’m just grateful and thankful,” Huston said. “I know I have big shoes to fill, and I’ll do the very best I can.”

Indiana House Minority Leader Phil GiaQuinta and Indiana Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray have both already said they look forward to working with Huston.

“Over the years I’ve worked with Todd, I have come to know him as a dedicated public servant with vision and integrity,” Bray, a Martinsville Republican, said in a prepared statement.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb called Huston a “home run pick.”

“He has proven himself a strong leader and has touched so many facets of state government through the budget process,” Holcomb said in a statement. “Having a year to learn from Speaker Bosma will prove invaluable. I look forward to working with him and Sen. Bray going forward.”

In his own statement, GiaQuinta, a Democrat from Fort Wayne, said he “look(s) forward to working with Speaker-elect Huston in making sure that the House conducts a healthy and vigorous debate on the issues that concern Hoosiers across our state.”

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