House Speaker Todd Huston takes the oath of office, while out-going Speaker Brian Bosma with State Rep. Vanessa Summers during a resolution in his honor.
House Speaker Todd Huston takes the oath of office, while out-going Speaker Brian Bosma with State Rep. Vanessa Summers during a resolution in his honor.
By BRIAN A. HOWEY

INDIANAPOLIS - Speaker Brian Bosma closed out one of the most powerful eras in Indiana House history, formally passing the gavel to new Speaker Todd Huston Monday afternoon.

"This is an unbelievable institution. It is the crucible of democracy in this state," Bosma said after more than an hour of listening to accolades from his colleagues. "This is a healthy state. It's been the key. We have to have a long-term vision here. We each need to think a decade away. We need to try to work to make that happen."

"My next admonition is be courageous," Bosma said. "Step out and be bold. You need to prepare yourself the lead. You don't come here prepared."

“I am confident in Speaker Huston's ability to take the reins and hit the ground running, and I have no doubt his strong leadership and excitement for Indiana's momentum will serve this chamber and our state well," Bosma said. "Serving as House Speaker has been the honor of my life and the strong relationships I've developed over the years are what I will cherish most about the unique time I have served."

After he was sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Mark Massa, Huston said, "My family has always stressed the importance of public service and conservative leadership, and I am honored and blessed to be placed in this position to help make sure Indiana stays on the right track. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues in the House and Senate, and Gov. Eric Holcomb to fuel Indiana's economic engine, and make our state a destination for all."

Bosma served two stints as speaker, first elected in 2004 where he served two years, and then helped engineer the current era of super majorities for the Republican Party beginning with the 2010 election when Bosma helped shepherd in 25 GOP representatives. During Bosma's tenure, the outgoing speaker championed "honestly balanced budgets," paying down pension obligations, a pro-life agenda, and he sponsored legislation that made Indiana right to work state, lower taxes as he opened up House committees and floor activities to the public by living streaming on the Internet. He also chose two Democrats as a committee chairs in 2012.

Indiana Republican Party Chairman Kyle Hupfer said of Bosma's 12 years at the helm, “It’s truly the end of a historic era in the Indiana House of Representatives as Speaker Bosma passes the gavel to Speaker Huston. Brian’s leadership turned our state around and made Indiana the envy of the nation. Brian has earned his place as the most consequential speaker in Indiana history and we’ll remain forever grateful for his decades of service.”

Senate President Pro Tem Rod Bray said, "Speaker Bosma led his chamber with integrity for many years, and I am confident that Speaker Huston will do the same. I look forward to working alongside Speaker Huston, a man for whom I have great respect, as we finish out this legislative session and beyond."

Indiana House Democratic Leader Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne) said, "I wish Speaker Bosma and his family well as he closes this 34 year chapter and begins a new one, and welcome Rep. Huston to the Speaker's rostrum. I look forward to working with Speaker Huston in order to move Indiana forward. I hope he will work with House Democrats, in good faith, to address the issues Hoosiers are facing."

Huston previously served on the Hamilton Southeastern School Board, Hamilton Southeastern Schools Foundation Board, Fishers Planning Commission and Indiana Leadership Forum Board of Directors. Additionally, former Gov. Mitch Daniels twice called on Huston to serve the state, first with a four-year term as a member of the Indiana State Board of Education, and from 2006 to 2009 as a member of the Indiana Education Roundtable. Huston was instrumental in passing Daniels era education reforms in 2011.

That year Bosma sponsored landmark charter school expansion legislation and the nation's first statewide voucher program.