State Sen. Randy Head (R-Logansport) announced Monday that he will retire for the state legislature on Aug. 12 to become Chief Deputy Prosecutor for Pulaski County.
He’s resigning after more than 10 years in the Indiana Senate and during his third year for this term.
The change was a surprise to him, too.
However, the opening in Pulaski would allow him rejoin the Prosecuting Attorney’s Retirement Fund (PARF) and be eligible for benefits that require eight years participation, he said.
Head currently had five years and nine months in the program from his time as a deputy prosecutor in Cass County.
“This came up unexpectedly, but it was too good to pass up,” he said. “I felt it was important, and it is.”
He’d been preparing for a another run for Senate when he found out that former Pulaski County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Kelly M. Gaumer had been chosen by caucus to replace Daniel Murphy, who retired as the Pulaski Prosecuting Attorney.
Head decided to apply for her position.
He’s worked as a Deputy prosecutor for 14 total years, starting in Lake County and also worked in Tippecanoe and Marion counties, he said.
However, he didn’t participate in PARF before coming to Cass County.
Head has represented Senate District 18 since 2008 and authored more than 70 bills that became law.
One of his best known pieces of legislation strengthened school bus safety for students after the 2018 school bus accident in Rochester where three children were killed.
The Senate Enrolled Act 2, also known as the MAXSTRONG Act, increased penalties for drivers who ignore school bus laws and stops children from crossing high-speed roads to board the bus, according to the press release announcing Head’s resignation.
Cass County Republican Party Chairman Michael Stajduhar said that the state Republican Party is responsible for Head’s replacement for the final year of his term.
The district serves Cass, Fulton and Miami Counties and portions of Carroll, Kosciusko and Marshall counties.
A caucus is being convened with all the district’s precinct heads and being planned, Stajduhar said.
The party hadn’t set a date as of press time.
State Republican Chairman Kyle Hupfer and other state Republican officials couldn’t be reached Monday.
The press release announcing Head’s resignation from the Indiana Senate described it as a retirement.
He has no plans to return to the Senate or any elected office but wouldn’t rule that out.
“I suppose anything is possible,” he said. “I’m not doing this as a run up to another office. This is not in preparation for another office.”
Head stressed the hard work as advice for his replacement.
“It‘s certainly rewarding. It takes time. You have to put time into it,” he said.
The retirement itself is bittersweet, he added.
“I’m really grateful to the community for the chance to have this job,” he said. “Even when people disagreed with me, most of the time they treated me very well. I appreciated it.”
Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) praised Head’s record of service in the Senate.
“Randy’s practical knowledge and experience in the courtroom have made him a tremendous asset to our team as we have worked to improve our criminal justice system, but his impact on the state of Indiana goes far beyond the improvements he made to Indiana's criminal laws,” Bray said.
“His ability to articulate a concise, coherent message combined with his work ethic and eye for detail allowed him to positively impact many areas of the state's business,” he said. “We will miss Sen. Head's leadership, service and friendship, but we certainly wish him the best in his new endeavor.”
The resignation announcement stated that in the state legislature, “Head focused on civil and criminal issues, protecting children, curbing the drug epidemic and improving local government.”
Head was also an advocate for Children in the Senate and authored “several major laws that increased penalties and eliminated loopholes for child abusers and those who create and distribute child pornography,” his retirement announcement stated.
For other areas, “in 2016, Head authored Senate Enrolled Act 80, which gave pharmacists discretion to deny sales of pseudoephedrine products if the pharmacist suspects it will be used to make methamphetamine,” it stated.
It reduced the number of meth labs and meth lab arrests.
Head is married to Cass County Prosecutor Lisa Swaim and worked under her during his time as deputy prosecutor in Cass County.
Reach James D. Wolf Jr. at email@example.com or 574-732-5117.