For the first time in 36 years, someone other than Richard Lugar is holding the former senior senator’s seat in the United States Senate.
On Thursday, Joe Donnelly, a South Bend Democrat, took the oath of office to replace Lugar, who was defeated in the GOP primary last spring by Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock. A tea party-backed ideologue, Mourdock became known for his extreme and rigid political positions and could not hold the seat for Republicans in the general election. While Indiana lost a proven and experienced statesman in Lugar, it certainly gained a far more reliable and moderate senator with Donnelly than it would have had with Mourdock.
Sen. Donnelly is a typical Hoosier Democrat, far more conservative than most of his liberal colleagues in the Senate, but someone driven by his desire to serve the people rather than the party to which he belongs.
Donnelly moves to the Senate from his former position as a representative of a northern Indiana district in the U.S. House. While there, he showed his independence by backing a balanced-budget amendment and several other conservative causes, and he steadfastly declaring himself pro-life and pro-gun.
Donnelly’s positions might not always please members of either party or even all of his Hoosier constituents, but his record is a clear indicator that he is moderate in his political beliefs, pragmatic in his approach to governing, and will keep his common-sense bearings as he goes about his business.
Indiana is once again in good hands in the U.S. Senate. We wish Sen. Donnelly well in his coming six-year term.