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Rep. Rita Fleming resigns suddenly, effective immediately

Rita Fleming speaks on the House floor. Fleming is a White woman with dark blonde hair. She is wearing a white sweater with two pink flowers on it over a pink shirt.
Brandon Smith
IPB News
Rep. Rita Fleming (D-Jeffersonville), a retired OB-GYN, helped lead the fight at the Statehouse to expand access to contraceptives.

Rep. Rita Fleming (D-Jeffersonville) announced Monday she is resigning her Statehouse seat, effective immediately.

Fleming, a three-term lawmaker and grandmother of 15, said she’s stepping down to focus on her family.

“Legislative sessions are long up at the Statehouse in Indianapolis and it takes a lot of work to properly represent House District 71,” Fleming said. “It’s time for me to retire from my post as state representative and focus on my family.”

The retired OB-GYN helped lead the fight at the Statehouse to expand access to contraceptives and authored a law banning pregnant inmates from being shackled.

House Democratic Leader Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne) praised Fleming’s “bipartisanship and pragmatism.”

“Much of her authored and co-authored laws all have one unifying principle in common: making pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood healthier and more dignified for Hoosier women,” GiaQuinta said.

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A private Democratic precinct caucus will meet within 30 days to elect someone to serve out the rest of Fleming’s term, which ends in November.

Fleming was unopposed in her primary election last week. A private caucus will also have to choose a replacement for her on November's general election ballot.

Fleming’s district is one of the most competitive in the General Assembly. She won her 2022 reelection bid by just 226 votes out of more than 18,000 cast.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.