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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, April 22, 2018 1:00 am

A nod for GiaQuinta

Indiana House District 80

Democratic ballot

Linda Brooks

Phil GiaQuinta *

A minority member in a supermajority setting has two options: Resist or collaborate. State Rep. Phil GiaQuinta has chosen the latter, and his constituents are better for it.

For his ability to advance legislation beneficial to the community, the Fort Wayne Democrat has earned a seventh term. 

GiaQuinta, utility services manager for the city of Fort Wayne, is widely respected on both sides of the aisle. In his unsuccessful bid for minority leader last year, he probably had the misfortune of being too polite and civil to colleagues – a distinct disadvantage in the necessarily partisan post. GiaQuinta's demeanor earned him another honor, however. Retired lawmakers in February selected him for a civility in government award, recognizing lawmakers who “communicate to develop trust and find common ground to reach resolution, maintain emotional control and demeanor to reflect positively on and to generate respect for the General Assembly.”

Most important for voters is that his approach is effective. GiaQuinta, 53, partnered with Republican Rep. Dan Leonard to advance a tax-increment financing measure to support the Electric Works project this year, although it was caught up in the legislature's adjournment-day meltdown. He sponsored the 2009 legislation establishing the Capital Improvements Board, which has allowed food and beverage tax revenue to support key economic investments. He also sponsored 2017 legislation creating a pilot program for entrepreneurial and enterprise districts.

GiaQuinta's challenger, Linda Brooks, has been active in community efforts on the city's southeast side. The incumbent, however, has the experience and demeanor to best serve the heavily Democratic Fort Wayne district.