INDIANAPOLIS — Brian Bosma, the longest-serving Indiana House Speaker, announced his retirement last month, promising to name a speaker-elect quickly to ensure a smooth transition for one of the state’s most powerful positions.
On Monday, Republicans unanimously approved Todd Huston, R-Fishers, as Bosma’s successor, announcing that Huston would step away as co-chair of the Ways and Means committee to shadow Bosma during the 2020 legislative session.
“We’re going to be aggressive in moving the state forward, and we’re going to do it in a way that brings honor to this building,” Huston said, sharing his admiration for the way Bosma has conducted the House. “We tend to argue aggressively on a few matters … but he’s brought a culture of respect.”
Huston will be formally named the next House Speaker when the session ends in mid-March.
“The vast majority of what the members see is out here at the podium, but the vast majority of the job is conducted elsewhere,” said Bosma, R-Indianapolis.
He emphasized that priorities wouldn’t dramatically change between leaders, noting that the leadership team controls the general agenda. Bosma repeated his core issues from Organization Day, which was Nov. 19: holding teachers harmless from poor ILEARN test scores, examining decoupling assessments from teacher pay and creating a health care cost transparency portal.
Teachers rallied at the statehouse on Organization Day, with some estimating 15,000 educators and families came to the capital. Teachers asked for pay raises and challenged a bill requiring them to complete a 15-hour externship on workforce needs. Bosma said he would consider examining whether some teachers should be exempt from the requirement.
Huston didn’t directly respond to a question about his role in creating Indiana’s voucher program to help students pay for tuition at private schools, saying, “There’s nothing I value more than education. I’m proud of being a state where 50.2% of our budget goes to education.”
Before being elected in 2012, Huston served on the Hamilton Southeastern School Board. Former Gov. Mitch Daniels appointed Huston to the Indiana State Board of Education and, later, to the Indiana Education Roundtable.
Huston said he would continue to hold his seat as a senior vice president at CollegeBoard, a nonprofit that aims to expand access to higher education.
Huston said that, like Bosma, he supports an Indiana Chamber of Commerce priority to raise the minimum age for purchasing tobacco and vaping products.
Bosma said that under Huston, the state would continue “steady, steady progress.”
“That stability, I think, is really critical, and I am confident that Representative Huston will bring that same sense of stability,” Bosma said.