INDIANAPOLIS — State Sen. Jim Merritt has announced he will retire in November. The decision comes after 30 years of serving as a state senator.
Merritt is currently the longest-serving Republican member of the Indiana Senate. He was first elected in 1990.
"Serving the people of Indiana for the past 30 years has been the greatest honor of my life," Merritt said in a press release. "I'm incredibly thankful to the people of Marion and Hamilton counties who have placed their trust in me and given me the chance to work on so many critical issues for our region and state. It's hard to step down from a role that I am so grateful to serve in, but I look forward to the opportunity to serve in new capacities in the years ahead."
Merritt also held a number of leadership roles within the Senate. He is currently the chair of the Senate Majority Caucus — a role he's had since 2004. He is also the chair of the Utilities Committee and a ranking member of the Commerce & Technology Committee. He also serves on the Homeland Security & Transportation, Joint Rules, Public Policy, Rules & Legislative Procedure, and Veterans Affairs & the Military committees.
In 2019, Merritt ran for Indianapolis mayor against incumbent Joe Hogsett. After Hogsett won the position, Merritt said he would "do anything I can from the Indiana Senate to make it a better place to live."
Merritt graduated from Indiana University in 1981. He currently represents Senate District 31, which covers portions of Marion and Hamilton counties. He will give up his seat Nov. 4. He did not reveal exactly what is next for him, but said he looks forward to staying active in the community and continuing to serve Hoosiers.
The Marion County Republican Party released a statement reading in part:
"Like many, we were surprised to hear the resignation of State Senator Jim Merritt. Senator Merritt has been a tremendous voice for District 31 and the State of Indiana since 1991. During his tenure as Senator, he has earned many awards for his service and has been a vocal leader for the war on opioids. We will miss Senator Merritt in the Senate and wish him nothing but the best in his future." - State Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer (R-Beech Grove)