By Associated Press - Friday, December 22, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - One of the most powerful Republican lawmakers in the Indiana Senate announced Friday that he is stepping down.

State Sen. Brandt Hershman, of Buck Creek, said in a news release that he is resigning from his Lafayette-area Senate seat effective Jan. 2.

Indiana’s annual legislative session starts the following day.

“Throughout my tenure, I have focused on making sure Hoosiers are getting the best and most efficient government services for the smallest cost,” said Hershman, who served as the Republican floor leader. “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.”

Hershman is an attorney and says he will be joining Barnes & Thornburg’s Washington, D.C., office. He did not elaborate on his reason for stepping down.

He has served in the Indiana Senate since 2000 and built a reputation as a policy heavyweight in tax, utility and telecommunications issues.

Most recently, he served as chairman of the Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy committee.

He has had a hand in shaping landmark pieces of legislation, including the 2006 lease of the Indiana Toll Road and last year’s roads funding package, which hiked fuel taxes by a dime per-gallon.

Republican Senate leader David Long, of Fort Wayne, lamented the departure. He said Hershman offered “wise counsel” and added that he will miss his longtime friend.

“Brandt Hershman and I have been close friends since he arrived in the Indiana Senate in 2000,” Long said. “I was assigned by then Senate leadership to serve as his mentor, though it was immediately clear that he needed little tutoring. Brandt is one of the brightest, most accomplished individuals I’ve ever known.”

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