September 1, 2013

LEHE: What a great summer


---- — The begin-ning of Septem-ber is here, school has started and the activities just keep coming. Harvest season will be here before we know it, followed shortly by the 2014 legislative session.

Before we look too far into the future though, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on what I consider to be very productive summer in many ways. One great accomplishment for our community was the ground breaking ceremony for the Magnetation plant in Reynolds – the largest investment in White County history. I attended the ceremony along with our lieutenant governor, Sue Ellspermann, and was excited to hear that more than 100 jobs will be heading our way. The plant is expected to open at the end of 2014 and will be the first in the company to make iron ore pellets.

Ellspermann made a few other visits to our area as well. As part of her mission to visit all 92 counties in Indiana, she stopped by to meet with White County elected officials and business owners to see what the state can do to better work with local governments and businesses.

Our governor, Mike Pence, also had some great new for our community this summer. The Subaru Isuzu plant in Lafayette will undergo a $400 million expansion, adding about 900 jobs to its work force. Being a part of that announcement was a privilege, and I’m excited to see the impact this new venture will have on our community.

Summer festivals and 4-H fairs are also an integral part of summer here in Indiana. We have our fair share, and I truly enjoyed traveling to each one and meeting all the folks who came out to support our agriculture industry, celebrate our Hoosier heritage and simply have a good time.

Attendance at these events seems to have skyrocketed this year, leading me to believe that our economy is steadily on the uptick. The state fair broke records with almost 1 million people stopping by to see the 6,510-pound popcorn ball and the new Glass Barn.

Generally when the economy is doing well, people are more apt to travel and join in on leisure activities. I’m pleased to say that I think Hoosiers will be doing even more – if our employment numbers are any indication. Indiana led the nation in rate of growth in July with a 1.9 percent increase in the trade, transportation and utilities sectors. We also came in second in the nation in manufacturing growth with about 61,800 jobs added since July 2009.

Higher education is also a factor in the growth of our state, and with all the great institutions available, I think we can look forward to another generation of hard-working, capable people entering the work force. In July, I attended the dedication of the Craig Porter Energy Center at Ivy Tech in Lafayette, celebrating the life of Craig Porter, the former energy technology program chairman who passed away in 2011. The new Center will teach students about solar panel power generation, wind turbines and geothermal heating.

Overall, I think this summer has been full of some very positive things for our state and our community. I look forward to the coming months – a bountiful harvest, more time with my family and even more growth and innovation.

As always, I welcome input from you on how we can work together on issues affecting our community. Please feel free to call my office at 317-234-2993 or email me at

State Rep. Don Lehe serves as chairman of the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee.He represents portions of White, Cass, Carroll, Clinton and Tippecanoe counties.