Former IU student trustee wins Indiana House seat

Anyone who watched Casey Cox when he was an IU Bloomington student leader and an Indiana University student trustee could have predicted he would have a future in politics.

Cox took the next step in a political career this week when Republican precinct officials in Allen County elected him to serve in the Indiana House of Representatives.

Casey Cox

Casey Cox

“It’s very exciting,” he said Wednesday by phone from Fort Wayne, where he now lives. “During my time at IU, I had a lot of opportunities that encouraged me to stay involved in public service.”

Cox, 31, was elected Tuesday to fill the District 85 Indiana House seat, which had been left vacant by the recent death of longtime state Rep. Phyllis Pond, R-New Haven. GOP precinct officials chose him on the first ballot over six other candidates. He will face re-election next year.

In the legislature, he hopes to work on issues involving higher education and economic development, with an emphasis on the needs of northeastern Indiana. District 85 takes in a diverse area that includes part of Fort Wayne, all of New Haven, and several small towns and rural areas in eastern Allen County. It includes Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, the fifth-largest university campus in the state.

“I recognize that, as a freshman legislator — and in a short session in particular — there will be restrictions on what I can accomplish,” Cox said. “But I’m interested in learning how we can use the assets we have up here, whether it’s IPFW or local business and industry, for the betterment of the state.”

At IU Bloomington, Cox served as chairman of the IU College Republicans and president in 2003-04 of the IU Student Association. He was appointed student trustee by Gov. Mitch Daniels and served in that capacity from 2005-07, while a student at the Maurer School of Law. He is now a lawyer with the law firm of Beers Mallers Backs and Salin. He and his wife, Melissa, have two children.

“Casey Cox was the epitome of everything a student trustee should be,” said IU Trustee Patrick Shoulders, who served with Cox on the board. “He has the leadership skills and a wonderful way with people. And he will always be well grounded since he married a great gal from Evansville, Ind.”

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