Designated tweeters deliver running commentary for State of the State

By Abrahm Hurt
TheStatehouseFile.com

INDIANAPOLIS – In addition to print, TV and radio reporters covering Gov. Eric Holcomb’s first State of the State address Tuesday night, five people sat in the audience with their fingers flying.

Those five individuals — including talk radio host Tony Katz and Gina Leckron, state director for Habitat for Humanity of Indiana — were invited by House Speaker Brian Bosma to live tweet their thoughts and give commentary through his “Tweet Seats” series.

Gina Leckron, the state director for Habitat for Humanity, participated in the Indiana House Republican's annual "Tweet Seats" during Gov. Eric Holcomb's State of the State address. Leckron said she would like to focus more on affordable housing. Photo by Alexa Freeman, TheStatehouseFile.com

Gina Leckron, the state director for Habitat for Humanity, participated in the Indiana House Republican’s annual “Tweet Seats” during Gov. Eric Holcomb’s State of the State address. Leckron said she would like to focus more on affordable housing. Photo by Alexa Freeman, TheStatehouseFile.com

“Just heard Gov. Holcomb go pro-coal. I then heard hysterical screaming from pseudo-environmentalists,” Katz posted on his feed.

“‘Indiana runs on coal’ Holcomb says,” posted Mary Beth Schneider, a former government and political reporter for the Indianapolis Star, “but that seems a throwback to the 19th century, not the 21st century global economy he’s talked about.”

The Tweet Seat series is a component of House Speaker Brian Bosma’s, R-Indianapolis, transparency initiatives. Bosma said using Twitter helps lawmakers reach a different audience.

“It’s not necessarily the folks that will read about the State of the State tomorrow morning in the Indianapolis Star or next Monday in the IBJ,” Bosma said. “Especially younger people are going to follow things on social media.”

Leckron said she hoped participating would raise awareness for the Habitat’s upcoming project with legislators in March. On the Statehouse south lawn, they will build wall panels for a house. Lawmakers will also collect new or gently-used tools.

“Housing is an important issue in Indiana, and it gives us a platform to talk more about affordable housing and work more closely with legislators,” Leckron said.

After the speech, she said she would have liked to hear more about the housing issue.

Other participants included Gerry Dick from Inside Indiana Business and Byron Ernest who is the head of schools at Hoosier Academies and member of the State Board of Education.

“Transparency is always top of mind,” Bosma said, “and I believe social media helps expand our abilities as state lawmakers to connect and be accessible to those we represent.”

Abrahm Hurt is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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