The Journal Gazette
Sunday, February 07, 2021 1:00 am

Lawmaker back after bout with virus

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

One state lawmaker returned to the Statehouse last week – carrying extra oxygen after her bout with COVID-19.

Rep. Vanessa Summers, D-Indianapolis, said she was in the hospital struggling to breathe on what should have been her first session day Jan. 4.

“I was hospitalized for 18 days, with 11 of those days spent in the ICU, being treated for hypoxia. I was literally unable to breathe and get enough oxygen to my body to function,” she said.

Summers believes her habit of walking 15 miles a week is what kept her alive.

“COVID-19 is real ... If you don't want to go through what I went through, take this virus seriously. Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Practice social distancing. Exercise. Work on your health daily, don't just wait until you get sick.”

On the day she returned, Republicans caucused so long that Summers' oxygen ran low and she had to leave before voting on bills. But she says she is trying to get hearings for her legislation before an upcoming deadline and is grateful for the chamber's support.

Take Two

Chip Coldiron is considering another shot at Indiana's 3rd Congressional District next year.

In a recent Facebook post, Coldiron – a Democrat who unsuccessfully challenged Rep. Jim Banks in the November election – said he has heard from many supporters who want to know if he will run again in 2022.

“I am listening, I am considering all options for how to best serve our district going forward, and I am so grateful for everyone who has expressed support for a second run these last few months,” Coldiron wrote.

The former candidate noted that his main concern is for his family. He and his wife, Candis, are expecting another child.

“Whether I am on the ballot in 2022 or not, I can make this promise to you all: I will be involved in the work to make our community and the lives of our neighbors better. And I welcome you to join me.”

Before it was popular

Fort Wayne Community Schools' stance on President Joe Biden's plan to reopen most K-8 schools by late April shouldn't be surprising.

“We supported Biden's plan before Biden had the plan,” Superintendent Mark Daniel said Tuesday, responding to a parent's question during his monthly Facebook Live update. “We are already implementing Biden's plan.”

FWCS offered families remote-only and in-person options this academic year.

Daniel said he wishes he could tell all students to return to school, but the district isn't ready for that.

However, he said, good things are happening, including declining virus case numbers and vaccination distributions.

“Hopefully, starting in the fall, we'll be 100% in person,” Daniel said.

Journal Gazette staff writers Ashley Sloboda and Dave Gong contributed to this report.

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Niki Kelly at Political Notebook can be found at

Sign up for our daily headlines newsletter

Top headlines are sent daily