Brandt Hershman, the Indiana Senate’s longtime tax and fiscal policy chief, announced Friday he is resigning to take a job with one of the state’s largest law and lobbying firms.
Hershman, R-Buck Creek, will step down Jan. 2, the day before the 2018 legislative session begins. He is joining the Washington, D.C., office of Indianapolis-based law firm and lobbying powerhouse Barnes & Thornburg.
Hershman is an 18-year veteran of the Senate, where he has been chairman of the Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee since 2009. He played a key role in deregulating Indiana’s telecommunications industry, capping property taxes, eliminating the state’s inheritance tax, and cutting income, corporate and financial taxes.
During his tenure, he has been a passionate advocate for conservative economic causes, often leading floor debates on complicated regulatory and fiscal topics in a trademark monotone voice akin to that of Ben Stein.
He joins Barnes & Thornburg as an attorney at a time when the firm is expanding its federal relations group on the heels of former Gov. Mike Pence’s election as the nation’s 48th vice president. The firm’s managing partner, Bob Grand, is a top fundraiser for Pence and President Donald Trump.
Hershman was under consideration earlier this year for a position on the Federal Communications Commission, in part because of his work on telecommunications in Indiana. The seat ultimately went to former FCC official Brendan Carr.
Hershman’s exit is the second in recent months among the Republican-dominated Senate’s fiscal leadership ranks. Sen. Luke Kenley, the chamber’s longtime chief budget writer, also stepped down earlier this year.
“Throughout my tenure, I have focused on making sure Hoosiers are getting the best and most efficient government services for the smallest cost,” Hershman said in an emailed statement announcing his resignation. “It’s been a privilege to work alongside so many dedicated public servants to help enact meaningful conservative reforms that have made our state the fiscal envy of the nation.”
Senate President Pro Tempore David Long, R-Fort Wayne, said he would miss Hershman’s advice, his “terrific sense of humor and his ability to speak effectively and persuasively on most any subject.”
“He is leaving the Senate with a record that few others in the history of the Indiana State Legislature can match,” Long said. “His legacy as a national leader on such state issues as tax reform, telecom reform, and as a strong and consistent advocate for the agricultural community speaks for itself.”
A caucus of Republican party precinct committee members will choose Hershman’s replacement within 30 days.
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