Zent latest state lawmaker to announce departure from General Assembly

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Denny Zent

State Rep. Denny Zent of Angola has announced his intention to retire following the conclusion of his current term, becoming the second GOP state representative this month to do so.

The Republican representing House District 51, which includes portions of LaGrange and Steuben counties in northeast Indiana, said Wednesday he will complete his current term but will not seek reelection in 2024. He did not give a reason for his departure in his announcement.

“It has been an honor to serve for over a decade in the General Assembly,” Zent said in a written statement. “During my time in the legislature, we’ve made great strides in helping our veterans, recognizing the crucial roles of caregivers and addressing various health care matters impacting Hoosiers.”

Zent currently serves on the House Public Health Committee and the House Veterans Affairs and Public Safety Committee. He was first elected to the General Assembly in 2012.

“He’s a tremendous servant leader who puts the needs of his district first and always looks for commonsense solutions,” House Speaker Todd Huston said in a written statement.

Zent was responsible for a number of legislative items for veterans, according to his office. He introduced a measure in 2020 to rename U.S. Route 20 across northern Indiana as the Medal of Honor Memorial Highway.

“I look forward to working hard during my last session and finishing up my term,” Zent said.

Zent joins a number of GOP state lawmakers who are forgoing reelection in 2024. He is the second state representative to disclose his intention this month following West Harrison Republican Randy Lyness’ announcement Dec. 18.

In November, Republican state Rep. Bob Cherry of Greenfield announced his intention to retire after 25 years.

Carmel Republican Rep. Donna Schaibley said in October she will not seek reelection shortly after longtime lawmaker Rep. Jerry Torr, who also represents Carmel, announced his intention to retire after 28 years in the House.

In August, Republican state Sen. John Crane of Avon announced he will not seek reelection after the 2024 legislative session.

At least three other Republican lawmakers resigned this year. In September, state Sen. Jon Ford of Terre Haute said he would resign effective Oct. 16 from his western Indiana district. A Republican caucus chose Greg Goode, the state director for Republican U.S. Sen. Todd Young, to finish out the remainder of Ford’s term.

Republican Sen. Chip Perfect, of Lawrenceburg, resigned in late September from his southeastern Indiana seat. A caucus chose businessman Randy Maxwell to complete Perfect’s term.

In July, State Rep. Randy Frye, a Republican from Greensburg, resigned from his southeastern Indiana district due to health issues. Attorney J. Alex Zimmerman was chosen to complete Frye’s term.

After Republican state Sen. Jack Sandlin unexpectedly died in September, former inspector general Cyndi Carrasco was sworn into the Senate in November to fill the Indianapolis seat.

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