INDIANAPOLIS—State Senator Earline Rogers (D-Gary) announced today that she would not seek another term in the Indiana Senate, following over three decades of service to the Indiana General Assembly. Sen. Rogers said it is time to pass the torch and bring a new voice for Gary, Indiana into the legislature.
Before her election to the Indiana Senate in 1990, Rogers served eight years in the Indiana House of Representatives. A 38-year veteran of the Gary Public School system, Sen. Rogers has spent much of her career advocating for greater educational opportunities for Indiana’s children. She presently serves as the Ranking Democrat on the Senate Education Committee.
Prior to serving at the state-level, Sen. Rogers served two years on the Gary Common Council and was the first woman elected president during that time. Additionally, Sen. Rogers was the first African American to serve as vice chair of the Indiana State Democratic Party and the first African American to serve as Assistant Minority Leader of the Senate Democratic Caucus. She presently serves as the Senate Minority Whip.
During her tenure at the statehouse, Sen. Rogers’ most notable accomplishments include her push to create a pathway to allow casino gaming in Indiana, which significantly increased the gaming industry in Indiana. Her efforts moved riverboat casinos inland, opening harbor space, encouraging interstate competition and generating additional jobs in the area. Her legislation raising the age for execution in the State of Indiana gained her worldwide attention.
She also boosted economic development in Northwest Indiana through her work to create the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA). The RDA focuses on projects like construction of the West Lake Corridor rail line, Gary-Chicago International Airport, and Shoreline development.
Sen. Rogers has been a key voice for children, authoring Heather’s Law – which develops models for schools to educate their students on dating violence, school bus safety legislation known as Jo Jo’s law, providing safe transport to students, the state’s first bi-literacy program, and strengthened provisions to ensure prospective teachers receive adequate training.
This year Sen. Rogers will renew her efforts to provide resident tuition rates for children of undocumented workers, and expand pre-kindergarten pilot programs.
Sen. Rogers was an honor graduate from Roosevelt High School in Gary, and received both her bachelor and Master’s degrees in Education from Indiana University Bloomington. Upon retirement, Sen. Rogers says she hopes to be a “snow bird” traveling to Arizona during the winter months to visit her son, grandson, and great grandchildren.