Indiana State Rep. Rita Fleming Announces Immediate Retirement

Indiana Democratic State Representative Rita Fleming announced her immediate retirement, citing a desire to spend more time with her family. Fleming's departure will trigger a caucus to select her replacement for the November general election.

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Nitish Verma
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Indiana State Rep. Rita Fleming Announces Immediate Retirement

Indiana State Rep. Rita Fleming Announces Immediate Retirement

Indiana Democratic State Representative Rita Fleming, a Democrat representing the 71st district, announced her immediate retirement on Monday, citing a desire to spend more time with her family. Fleming, a retired obstetrician-gynecologist who was first elected to the statehouse in 2018, said her 15 grandchildren and the rest of her family are her priority.

"I have 15 grandchildren, and they and the rest of my family are my priority," Fleming said in a statement. "Legislative sessions are long up at the Statehouse in Indianapolis and it takes a lot of work to properly represent House District 71."

Why this matters: Fleming's retirement may have significant implications for the balance of power in the Indiana State House, particularly in the 71st district. Her departure could also impact the future of reproductive healthcare legislation in the state, given her advocacy and expertise in this area.

During her tenure, Fleming served as the ranking minority member of the insurance committee and was a member of the natural resources and public health committees. She authored and backed several key pieces of legislation related to reproductive healthcare. In 2022, Fleming sponsored a bill signed into law that prohibits the shackling of inmates during labor and delivery. This year, she authored a bill requiring hospitals to offer postpartum Medicaid patients birth control, which was later signed into law by Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb.

"As a retired physician with decades of experience under her belt, Rita's empathy, care and firsthand insights helped her improve Indiana's public health and healthcare policy," said House Democratic leader state Rep. Phil GiaQuinta in a statement.

Fleming was facing a rematch in the November general election against Republican Scott Hawkins, whom she narrowly beat in 2022 by a margin of about one point. A caucus will now select her replacement to appear on the ballot. Fleming's retirement is effective immediately.

Key Takeaways

  • Indiana Democratic State Rep. Rita Fleming announces immediate retirement.
  • Fleming cites desire to spend more time with her 15 grandchildren and family.
  • Her retirement may impact balance of power in Indiana State House and reproductive healthcare legislation.
  • Fleming was a strong advocate for reproductive healthcare, authoring key legislation.
  • A caucus will select her replacement for the November general election.