Who’s who in Indiana education: Sen. Ryan Mishler

Find more entries on education power players as they publish here.

Vitals: Republican senator representing District 9, covering parts of Elkhart, Kosciusko, Marshall and St. Joseph counties, for 14 years. President of Mishler Funeral Homes and Bremen Monument Company.

What makes him a power player: Mishler replaced long-serving Sen. Luke Kenley as the head of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, making him one of two main budget-writers in the General Assembly. In addition to helping put together the state budget, which includes money for schools, Mishler’s committee also considers bills that could have a financial impact on the state.

Before he took center stage: Mishler was involved with education legislation, mostly through his close relationship with Kenley, even before he took the helm of the appropriations committee. Mishler was a co-author on one of the first bills urging lawmakers to scrap the state ISTEP test, and also played roles in past years’ school funding bills.

Here and now: This year, Mishler is making a big push for the state to rectify its school funding gap, a result of higher-than-expected public school enrollment.

Who supports him: In recent years, Mishler has received campaign contributions from Education Networks of America, a private education technology company; and the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce.

The Indiana Coalition for Public Education, assessing legislators’ support for public schools, gave Mishler an “F” in its 2016 legislative report card.

Legislative highlights via Chalkbeat:

Bills in past years: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018

Also check out our list of education issues to watch this year.