INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana State Rep. Cindy Ziemke was brought coffee every morning by a traveling companion during a two-week trip to Italy three years ago.
Ziemke is a Republican from Batesville. She traveled with a Democrat, Rep. Terri Austin from Anderson.
“We got to know each other as people and we realized how much we have in common and the things that we’re so much more alike in so many ways than we were different,” Austin said.
On Thursday, Austin went to the floor of the Indiana House chamber to honor Ziemke who is retiring at the end of the legislative session.
Austin praised Ziemke for the love she has for her two sons, Connor and Sean who both went public in discussing how they battled addictions, and courage in fighting for legislation to provide addiction treatment.
Ziemke, 63, was first elected to House District 55 in 2012. Last year she became the Republican caucus as assistant Majority Caucus Chair.
Among Ziemke’s legislative issues were tackling reform of township government and providing services for Hoosiers in need of addiction treatment.
Ziemke told the chamber, “I’ve tried so hard to lift those up in need because I’ve always viewed that as the most important thing we can do here.”
Raised as the eighth of nine children on a family farm at Hamburg, Indiana, she is married to husband Tim and also owns the popular Brau House in Oldenburg known for its fried chicken.
A House resolution was adopted unanimously Thursday noting, “Representative Ziemke has been a leader in the legislature on mental health and addiction issues, authoring bills throughout her career and that address substance use, prevention and recovery.”
Speaker of the House Todd Huston told Ziemke, “You’ve led and you’ve shown your heart every step of the way.”