The influx over the past few years of extremists in Congress and legislative bodies has had profound effects on governance at the local, state and national levels.

The rise of extremism has undercut bipartisanship and civil discourse, turning American politics into something nasty, sometimes even despicable.

Against this chaotic background, the political approaches of more moderate legislators stand out in stark contrast. The best of them have continued to pursue sensible legislation while showing respect for rival politicians and for all of their constituents.

State Rep. Bob Cherry, R-Greenfield, is one of these “old-school” politicians. While his politics are deeply conservative, his approach is cordial and collaborative. Cherry, whose district includes Lapel, announced last week that he would not seek reelection in 2024 to another term in the Indiana House. A farmer by trade, Cherry has made his deepest impressions in the General Assembly in state finances. In 2023 he co-authored the biennial state budget.

A press release announcing his retirement said the budget “is expected to save taxpayers an estimated $430 million over the next two years via tax relief.”

Cherry’s commitment to fiscal responsibility matches the pragmatism of many of his constituents, even if it’s counterintuitive to those who believe the state should invest more resources to help Hoosiers reach a higher quality of living.

He has also been a role model in the General Assembly, particularly for young Republican legislators who haven’t gone off the deep end of extremism.

“Beyond Rep. Cherry’s mastery of knowledge on Indiana’s budget, local government and agriculture policies; he is a role model among members in promoting bipartisanship and kindness,” said state Rep. Kyle Pierce, R-Anderson.

“As a freshman representative, I’ve always appreciated Rep. Cherry’s willingness to provide his insights on policies impacting our state and Madison County.”

Cherry has announced his retirement, but his work isn’t done yet. After his more than two decades in the Legislature, Cherry’s “old school” brand of leadership — thoughtful, moderate, collaborative — is needed more than ever as an example of sound statesmanship.
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