INDIANAPOLIS — One hundred fifty men and women from the four corners of the state, and dozens of cities and towns in between, entered the Statehouse as individuals Tuesday and left it as members of the 120th Indiana General Assembly.

Together they will work for four months, starting in January, to understand, represent, prioritize and attempt to meet the known and unknown needs of some 6.6 million Hoosiers.

There will be fierce debates, misunderstandings and hurt feelings during the legislative session, with the possibility for triumphant accomplishments, bipartisan cooperation and bold leadership hanging over each day.

But on the first day, there were only smiles as new members, including five from Northwest Indiana, entered the wood-paneled House and the marble-walled Senate for the first time, took their oaths of office and perhaps paused for a moment to ask themselves how exactly they got there.

“I’m just trying to take it all in,” said state Rep. Jim Pressel, R-Rolling Prairie, who never before held elected office until LaPorte County voters decided two weeks ago to send him to the Statehouse on their behalf.

“There’s just an incredible amount to learn,” he said. “I think we all have an idea how it should work, but how it really works is just intriguing.”

Pressel said he’s not intimidated by the task ahead of him and is ready to get down to business, a sentiment shared by new state Sen. Eddie Melton, D-Merrillville, one of just nine Democrats in the 50-member Senate.

“We have a lot of significant issues that have to be addressed as far as K-12 education and road funding,” Melton said. “Right now I’m enjoying the moment, but I know it’s time to work.”

State Sen. Mike Bohacek, R-Michiana Shores, almost missed the start of his four-year term as he searched outside the Senate chamber for his family to join him for his swearing-in by Chief Justice Loretta Rush, but they already were waiting inside for him at the rostrum.

“Being involved with county government I thought that was a really, really neat experience to be sworn in there, and it’s nothing like this,” Bohacek said.

He vowed that come January he definitely will be on time to start addressing Indiana’s drug epidemic, infrastructure needs and pre-kindergarten funding.

Across the rotunda, two of the Region’s new House members pretty much have seen it all before, but still couldn’t be happier to be there.

State Rep. Earl Harris Jr., D-East Chicago, is following in the footsteps of his late father and namesake, who represented the 2nd House District for a third of a century, and his mother, former state Rep. Donna Harris, D-East Chicago.

He confessed that after years of watching from the sidelines he’s excited to be the one actually advancing policy ideas and working to make them reality.

“I’m looking forward to serving the citizens of Northwest Indiana, and the entire state, and doing some good,” Harris said.

State Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon, D-Munster, who served in the House from 2006 to 2014, picked up right where she left off after losing a re-election bid two years ago and reclaiming her seat Nov. 8.

“I don’t really feel like I ever left,” she said. “I have been equally engaged in the community and doing the things that I would normally do to move Northwest Indiana forward.”

The longest-serving Region lawmaker, state Rep. Charlie Brown, D-Gary, with 34 years in the House, said he hopes the commitment to bipartisanship pledged by House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, in his session-opening address will allow the 30 Democrats in the 100-member chamber to meaningfully contribute to the new state budget and other laws that will be enacted next year.

“I think that would go a long way in terms of what the future of this state will hold,” Brown said.

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