#1StudentNWI: An interview with State Senator Karen Tallian

#1StudentNWI: An interview with State Senator Karen Tallian
By: Nicholas Fortin Last Updated: November 19, 2019

State Senator Karen Tallian is the elected Senator for Senate District 4, which includes parts of Porter and La Porte counties, covering the cities of Portage and Michigan City and the towns of Chesterton, Wheeler and Westville.

Tallian was first elected to office in 2005 and is the minority caucus chair for the Indiana Senate Democrats. She also sits on several committees, such as the Appropriations Committee, the School Funding Subcommittee, the Environmental Affairs Committee, Pensions and Labor, the Rules and Legislative Procedure Committee, and the Corrections and Criminal Law Committee. Being on so many committees keeps her busy throughout her term.

When Tallian was asked what she likes the most about being in the State Senate, she replied with a thoughtful answer. As she has been serving in the State Senate for the last 14 years, she enjoys the many opportunities to help people. She said her most recent focus is budget during budget time.

When asked about the difference between a member of the State Senate and a member of the State House of Representatives, Tallian said the two jobs are about 95 percent the same. The main difference is that the state budget has to start in the Indiana House of Representatives and then goes to the Indiana Senate. She also pointed out that the two jobs have different lengths of terms. The term for a member of the Indiana Senate is four years but the term length for a Representative in Indiana is only two years. 

Tallian said one of her biggest accomplishments happened during a recession about 10 years ago. She wrote a bill that requires banks to have a meeting with the home owner to work out a deal before a homeowner can be evicted.

When is comes to college affordability, Tallion works on the Senate Appropriations and Budget Committee, whose job is to pass legislation and set money for college scholarships.

Tallian also talked about how she enjoyed working with Joe Donnelly when he was a U.S. Senator for Indiana, representing the Region in Washington DC. Tallian also said she enjoys working with Congressman Pete Visclosky. One project that they have worked a lot on together is the South Shore extension. She commented that this project has been going on a long time and that she is happy that it is getting closer to being accomplished.

While Tallian does not have a lot of opportunity to work directly with the Governor, she does work with the Lieutenant Governor quite a bit. She also strives to work on bi-partisan projects.

Tallian, who is also an attorney, has recently announced that she is running for the Democratic nomination for Attorney General of Indiana.

Overall, Tallian said she is excited about serving in the State Senate. She enjoys having the opportunity to serve and to help the people of Indiana and of her district.