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State Senator Karen Tallian has served in the Indiana State Senate since December 2005 when she was elected to fulfill an unexpired term. Tallian was re-elected in 2006, 2010, 2014, and 2018. She represents Senate District 4, which includes portions of Porter and LaPorte counties, and previously included portions of Lake County.
A graduate of the University of Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and psychology, the Senator’s postgraduate work includes an associate’s degree from Chicago’s Harrington Institute of Design. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Valparaiso University School of Law in 1990. Senator Tallian lives in Portage and has three adult children.
Prior to joining the Senate, Tallian served her community in a variety of capacities including counsel to the Porter County Planning Commission, the Board of Zoning Appeals, Portage Township Trustee, Portage Fire Department Merit Board and the Portage Police Department Merit Board. Tallian was an adjunct professor at Valparaiso University Law School and taught insurance law. She has also served as President and board member of the Portage Parks Foundation, President of the Porter County League of Women Voters and the Director of the State Board of the League of Women Voters.
During her 30 year law career in Northwest Indiana, Tallian represented government entities and has worked extensively on environmental issues, water/sewer issues and zoning. She has experience in state and federal courts in both Indiana and Illinois.
In the Indiana Senate, Tallian has taken a leading role on issues important to working families, including labor issues, health care, property tax reform and environmental protection. In 2010, Tallian was awarded the Tommie Blaylock Award for Outstanding Leadership by the United Steelworkers (USW) Local #104. She was also inducted into The Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana in 2010, having been invited to join the Society after the successful passage of her consumer protection law focused on reducing mortgage foreclosures in Indiana. In 2008, she received the Joan Laskowski Legislator of the Year Award from the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana. She was the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award in 2017 by The American Legion, Department of Indiana and was honored as a Small Business Champion in 2013 by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.
Tallian is the Senate Democrat delegate to the State Budget Committee, and serves on the Justice Reinvestment Advisory Council and the Pension Management Oversight Commission. Tallian also served as the Co-Chair of the Northwest Indiana Delegation, a bi-partisan group of legislators focused on the advancement of the Region.
Additionally, Tallian has worked on a number of committees of the Conference of State Governments, a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staff of the nation’s 50 states, and Canadian provinces. She also serves as a member of the Great Lakes Legislative Caucus, the U.S. Canada Relations committee, and a subcommittee on NAFTA.
Indiana General Assembly Standing Committees:
School Funding Subcommittee
Corrections and Criminal Law (RMM)
Pensions and Labor
Rules and Legislative Procedure