New State Rep Hopes to Work on Opioid Crisis, Other Health Issues
(INDIANAPOLIS) - The Indiana House has its second new member since adjourning four months ago.
Marion Republican Ann Vermilion has been sworn in to complete the term of Kevin Mahan, who resigned to start a new job in Indianapolis. The former Marion General Hospital administrator says she hopes to work on rural issues, and the same public health challenges she's addressed at the hospital and as a health-care consultant, starting with Indiana's opioid epidemic.
Vermilion notes the struggle with opioids spills over into other public health challenges, including Indiana's high infant death rate and babies born with substance abuse addiction or withdrawal issues.
Vermilion's never held office before, but she says there's some similarity to her hospital work -- she says listening to what patients or constituents are saying is central to doing the job right.
Vermilion joins Indianapolis Republican Dollyne Sherman as rookies when legislators reconvene in November. Both have ties to retiring Congresswoman Susan Brooks, who was at the statehouse for Vermilion's swearing-in. Sherman was a longtime advisor to Brooks, while Vermilion was Brooks' guest at President Trump's State of the Union address last year to showcase her work with the Grant County Opioid and Substance Abuse Task Force.
There will be one more new legislator before the General Assembly reconvenes in November. Republican precinct leaders will caucus next month in Peru to pick a replacement for Logansport Senator Randy Head, who's resigning to become chief deputy prosecutor in Pulaski County.
Rep. Ann Vermilion (R-Marion, right) with Rep. Dollyne Sherman (R-Indianapolis), the legislature's newest member until Vermilion's swearing-in on Wednesday. (Photo: Eric Berman/WIBC)