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Republicans remember Indiana state Sen. Jack Sandlin

State senator Jack Sandlin died

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Republicans expressed condolences Wednesday night on the death of Indiana state Sen. Jack L. Sandlin.

His cause of death was not immediately known.

His district, No. 36, includes Marion County’s Perry Township, and White River and Pleasant townships in neighboring Johnson County. His Senate biography says he’s married to Lydia, and has one daughter and three grandchildren.

Sandlin’s four-year term in the Senate was to expire in November 2024. He joined the Senate in 2016 after serving on the Indianapolis City-County Council since 2010. From 1997-2006, he was trustee of Perry Township in southern Marion County.

He’d formerly worked for Indianapolis and Southport police departments, and his knowledge of criminal justice had led to him as Senate leader on public safety matters. Sandlin also led at fraud examination business.

Sandlin earned an MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University, a bachelor’s in business administration from the University of Indianapolis, and an associate degree in criminal justice from UIndy. He was a graduate of Greenwood High School.

He had served in the U.S. Army military police in Fort Gordon, Georgia.

The leader of the Senate, President Pro Tem Rodric Bray of Martinsville, said in a statement, “Jack Sandlin was a strong advocate for the people of Central Indiana and a champion of Indianapolis. He was a valued member of our caucus, and we will feel his loss deeply. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family, friends and all those who will be affected by this sudden loss, especially his wife Lydia.”

Marion County Republican Party Chairman Joe Elsener wrote, “We are incredibly sorry to hear of the passing of Senator Jack Sandlin. Jack lived a life in service to his community from his time on the police force, through his tenure as a city-county councilor, and finally as a state senator representing the Southside. His voice and impact on our city will certainly be missed. Our prayers are with his family, friends, and loved ones during this time.”

Jefferson Shreve, the Republican candidate for mayor in November’s election, wrote, “I am deeply saddened to learn the news of Sen. Sandlin’s passing. Sen. Sandlin lived a life of public service which was seen through his time on the police force, the city-county council and in the Indiana Senate. I had the pleasure of serving with Jack on the council and running alongside him for the senate seat. He was a kind man, a great competitor and he served our state well. Mary and I send our condolences to Lydia and Sen. Sandlin’s family. Our hearts are with them.”

Greenwood Mayor Mark Meyers wrote on Facebook, “This evening, we received the tragic news of the passing of my great personal friend and colleague, Senator Jack Sandlin. I find it difficult to express the words to describe a man that was so larger-than-life, but I will try. … I first met Jack while we served together with the Southport Police Department. He was always tough, as anyone who knew Jack could attest, but Jack was always fair, always willing to give the shirt off his back to anyone, and always the definition of a public servant.”

Indiana state Rep. Mike Speedy posted on Facebook, “He brought a unique blend of skills in business and law enforcement. He had a longstanding private detective and fraud investigation business that was an outshoot of his internal affairs work at IPD. I’ve heard him described as a human lie detector. He had great instincts on when some one was trying to bluff, blow smoke, or otherwise be untruthful to him. This was especially useful in his public service. I will sorely miss him – not just his law enforcement expertise. I was often his House sponsor on his pro-law enforcement legislation. He prepared me well. But I will miss seeing him at the legislative Bible study during session and at other local prayer gatherings and bible studies. Knowing his priorities, knowing the strength of his Christian faith, I take comfort that he’s experiencing unspeakable joy at this moment.”

U.S. Rep Erin Houchin of Indiana wrote on social media, “It’s with a broken heart I mourn the passing of a true friend and dear colleague in the Indiana State Senate, Jack Sandlin. Jack was fiercely loyal and deeply principled. He loved his wife Lydia and his family more than anything. Jack dedicated his life to public service on behalf of his country and Indiana. I will never forget his compassion. I’m praying for his beautiful family during this unimaginable time. Our state and our country are a better place because of Jack Sandlin. He will be deeply missed.”

State Sen. Dan Dernuic of Highland said in a Facebook post, “My good friend, Senator Jack Sandlin passed away today. Boy, I’m at a loss for words. He became a mentor of mine as I started my term in the Indiana Senate. He actually sat next to me in the Senate chambers, and his office was across from mine. Sometimes I would go into his office, and we were just talk about anything. Senate work, families, even cars. He was just a good guy. Jack could be tough if he needed to, but he was always ready to give you a smirk, and give me a perspective that I did not realize. For his family, Cindy and I will lift you up in prayer and know that if you need anything from me, just let me know. Jack, I will miss your wisdom, your point of view, but mainly just you. Thanks for taking me under your wing and letting me be your friend. I will really miss you.”

Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush shared a statement with News 8 on Thursday morning: “Senator Jack Sandlin served as a valuable partner to the justice system. He used his wealth of experience to connect legislative, executive, and judicial stakeholders in an immensely important endeavor—developing solutions to mental health and justice needs. He devoted significant time to join our judicial branch leaders at training and outreach events dedicated to behavioral health and justice. His passing is a tremendous loss to our state, but we are grateful for the years we had to partner with Senator Sandlin. Our condolences to his legislative staff and his family.”