Long explains decision to leave senate in sit down interview
INDIANAPOLIS (Fort Wayne's NBC) --- Indiana state lawmaker David Long says he is at peace with his decision to retire from his powerful position in charge of the senate.
We sat down for a one on one interview with Long, which reinforces the notion that northeast Indiana stands to lose influence because of the shakeup to come.
The Republican leader is from Fort Wayne but for more than 20 years, the halls of the Statehouse are where he has roamed, and for a dozen years, it is where he has ruled the senate chambers.
The long days and nights produced rewarding victories, but he says he sat down with wife Melissa and established November 6th as the day he will walk away from it all.
"All the various things that go with the job, and I think it's time that I give back to her the way she gave to me all these years too. She was my rock," Long said.
It has been discussed before, and you can hardly dispute, that northeast Indiana has cashed in big time because of Long's position of authority.
He played a significant role in funneling dollars to the proposed restoration of the General Electric campus near downtown, and to the grand plans to turn
Fort Wayne's riverfront property into a magnet for visitors and tourist revenues.
Long helped hammer home $2-million for the new school of music at Purdue-Fort Wayne.
He says the new road passing by the GM plant almost didn't get built-- that when an assortment of INDOT road projects came out, all of them were tied to central Indiana.
He complained to then Governor Pence, and that afternoon he got a meeting with the transportation commissioner.
"The last piece of the Hoosier Heartland Corridor, and two days later that was on the books, and we got it done," he said.
"I don't think the folks northeast realize what a loss this will be to northeast Indiana and the state of Indiana," said former state lawmaker Bob Alderman, who we caught up with at the Statehouse.
"You can't discount that (Long's authority), will it be missed, yeah, absolutely, does it put a little bit more pressure on myself and my colleagues from northeast Indiana, absolutely," said new state senator Andy Zay from Huntington County.
Long says he's retiring to full-time work as an attorney, but a lot of people aren't convinced, they're wondering if he still has a future in politics.
Not if you believe the words of the man himself.
His impression of the atmosphere on Capitol Hill...
"They don't get much done, and they fight all the time like cats and dogs. I don't have any aspirations for Washington and we've got a great governor, you know and I support him one hundred and 50 percent, so this will be my last political job," senator Long said.
The job in the Statehouse will go on for close to nine more months, and when it's over, hopefully this region won't lose too much clout.