Career: Education nonprofit president; lobbyist; lawyer; state party executive director; political consultant; campaign aide; congressional aide
Political highlights: Sought Republican nomination for U.S. House, 2000; Ind. House, 2003-06; sought Republican nomination for U.S. House, 2010
Luke Messer, R-Ind. (6th District)
Messer plans to build off the experiences he gained serving in the state legislature when he takes his seat as the representative for Indiana's sprawling 6th District.
"I'd like the opportunity to apply some of what Indiana's done in the last eight years in Washington," says Messer. As a state legislator and former head of the Indiana Republican Party, he played a supporting role in helping Gov. Mitch Daniels close a $600 million budget deficit and reducing the number of state employees to 1974 levels.
In the General Assembly, the 43-year-old Messer quickly rose in the GOP leadership ranks to help advance Daniels' budget plans, while also serving on the tax writing committees. His signature accomplishment was passage of legislation to raise the state's legal high school dropout age from 16 to 18.
In Washington, he sees any number of committee assignments as a platform for pressing the small-government, pro-growth message he campaigned on, including Education and the Workforce, Budget, and Oversight and Government Reform.
Messer already knows his way around the Capitol, following stints in the 1990s working for a pair of Tennessee Republicans: Rep. John J. "Jimmy" Duncan Jr. and former Rep. Ed Bryant. He also served as legal counsel for former Rep. David McIntosh when the Indiana Republican chaired a Government Reform subcommittee.
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Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.