By Christian Sullivan
INDIANAPOLIS – After five years and a three-hour commute, state Rep. Thomas Washburne, R-Inglefield, is stepping away from politics after his term ends in 2018.
Washburne said he is shifting his focus to his family, as living three hours away in the Evansville area has created its fair share of difficulties over years in the House of Representatives.
Rep. Thomas Washburne, R-Inglefield, leaving the House in 2018. Photo by Ellie Price, TheStatehouseFile.com
“My wife is not real excited about me being three hours away, three or four nights a week, in Indianapolis,” Washburne said. “Given how far away Evansville is from Indianapolis, it just is not a convenient way to live for us.”
Washburne has been married for 30 years and has five children, two of whom still live at home. He is also very active in a church planting effort for the Presbyterian Church of America.
Raised in Indiana, Washburne graduated from Princeton Community High School and went on the receive his undergraduate degree in engineering from Purdue University.
From there, he married his wife, Lynne, and taught at Vincennes University before heading off to Indiana University’s Robert H. McKinney School of Law.
He launched his career a politics in 1995 when he joined the staff of U.S. Rep. John Hostettler, a Republican in the 8th Congressional District, in Washington, D.C. From there, he worked his way up to chief of staff.
He left D.C. in 2001 to join the staff of Home School Legal Defense Associates, where he defended the rights of parents to home-school their children. In 2007, Washburne accepted a position with Old National Bancorp in Evansville as corporate counsel, where he remains to this day. In 2012, he ran for the House and won, and was re-elected in 2016.
While working as a representative, Washburne said his biggest accomplishments were the work he did on public policy issues. He also said he was happy with the weight that his voice carried.
“I also like that both in debates on the floor and in caucus, I’ve been a pretty strong voice for liberty and restrained government,” said Washburne.
Washburne said he is not going to endorse any candidates, but he suspects that a conservative Republican will replace him. Ken Beckerman is one of the people who will be looking to replace Washburne as representative.
“I suspect there will be several in there, and for all I know, could be people I know, so I’ll remain neutral until I see,” said Washburne.
Washburne will remain busy with family, and his full-time job, but will miss being in the House.
“I love being apart of the General Assembly,” said Washburne. “I have enjoyed it immensely.”
Christian Sullivan is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.