State food. Karen Tallian, D-Portage

As Porter and LaPorte County’s Democratic Parties prepare for a caucus to choose their successor, Karen ponders Tallian, who recently announced that she is stepping down from her seat as District 4 representative of the Indiana State Senate a year before her term ends , about them for options too.

“My very first step is to go on vacation and be away for a couple of weeks, and then I want to travel a bit and see people and then I want to think about it,” said Tallian, 70, of Portage, whose district this is includes northern Porter County and extends to LaPorte County.

Tallian entered the Senate in December 2005 when she was elected for an unexpired term.

She cites a recently passed law to reform the juvenile justice system as one of her many successes; a draft conference on foreclosure management that resulted from the 2008 recession and has also become a model for dealing with evictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic; and take the discussion of legalizing, or at least decriminalizing, marijuana “from a whisper to a scream, and that’s all”.

The laws passed by Tallian, she said, had bipartisan support.

“I’ve got things done, but there are a lot of days when things don’t go quite so well and that gets you down,” she said.

Since Tallian announced her resignation on September 30, effective November 1, several people have reached out to her with “interesting projects” that she is considering even though it would not be a full-time position.

She will continue her work as an attorney for longtime clients and will remain on the central committee of the state’s Democratic Party and vice-chairwoman of the party’s First Congressional District.

Tallian said she would continue to try other ways to advance the democratic agenda, but also admitted that “my blood pressure needs a break”.

A lawsuit over gerrymandering in the recent redistribution of state is currently under review. “I expect to be at least an advisory service to this group,” she added.

Porter County’s Democratic Party leader Drew Wenger said four or possibly five people living in the fourth district are interested in Tallian’s seat. He has coordinated a meeting scheduled for October 21 with Vidya Kora, leader of the LaPorte County’s Democratic Party, and Mike Schmuhl, leader of the state party.

Schmuhl will chair the caucus, Wenger said, and the district committee chairmen will make the selection to fill Tallian’s seat for the final year of her term in office.

Anyone who lives in the district and is interested in filling the vacancy must submit a CEB-2 candidacy declaration to Schmuhl and a declaration of economic interest to the Senate Secretary by October 18, 19:00, i.e. 72 hours in advance.The caucus can be found in United Steelworkers Local 6787, 1100 Max Mochal Highway / Ind. 149, Chesterton.

Tallian, Wenger said, was an inspiration to many people in politics in northwest Indiana.

“While we are saddened by her decision, we wish her all the best and are doing our due diligence to fill the position with someone who will carry on her legacy,” Wenger said, adding that the interest in Tallian’s replacement is evidence of its importance the seat.