A retired public school teacher and a true trail blazer, State Senator Earline Rogers is widely recognized as one of the Indiana General Assembly’s most effective leaders. Rogers represents Indiana Senate District 3 which encompasses portions of Lake County. District 3 communities include Gary, Lake Station, New Chicago, Hobart, Ainsworth, Merrillville and Crown Point.
Elected to the State Senate in 1990, Rogers serves as the Ranking Democrat on the Senate Education and Career Development Committee and as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, a panel instrumental in crafting the state budget and school funding formula. She serves on the Indiana Education Roundtable, a state board of key education, business, community, and government leaders, charged with ensuring that the state has world class academic standards for student learning. Rogers also serves on the Senate Homeland Security, Transportation and Veteran Affairs Committee.
She has also been appointed to serve on the Education and Health Committees of the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the nation’s 50 states, commonwealths and territories.
Additionally, Rogers serves as a member of the Northwest Indiana Transportation Study Commission and the Indiana Lakes Management Work Group. Rogers is President of the Board of Trustees for the Gary YWCA. Rogers has been a member of St. Timothy Community Church for over 50 years.
Prior to joining the State Senate, Rogers served eight years in the House of Representatives and two years on the Gary Common Council, where she was the first woman elected president. She was the first African American to serve as vice chair of the Indiana State Democratic Party. She served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) – under the leadership of then-DNC President and former U.S. Senator Paul Kirk. Rogers also served as the 1st District Coordinator for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.
Among her many legislative accomplishments, Rogers was instrumental in raising the minimum age to which the death penalty can be applied in Indiana to 18 years of age. She filed the first bill to create casino gaming in Indiana and co-authored riverboat gaming legislation, which has become a billion dollar industry for Indiana. She was also a leader in the passage and implementation of the legislation creating the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority.
Rogers has also been at the forefront of major education reform, including the A-Plus education reform package, the implementation of ISTEP, and anti-bullying legislation. Rogers also authored “Jojo’s Law,” which requires vehicles for ten or more passengers used by public schools, preschools, and licensed day care centers to meet the same safety requirements as school buses. Rogers proposed the law in response to a tragic accident in which Gary pre-schooler Jojo Wright was killed. In 2010 Rogers authored “Heather’s Law,” which requires the Department of Education to develop models for Indiana schools to better educate students about the serious reality of dating violence. Rogers proposed the law in response to the tragic death of Heather Norris in 2007.
A life-long resident of Gary, Rogers spent 38 years teaching in the Gary Public School system and today works as an education consultant. She was an honor student at Roosevelt High School and senior class president. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Indiana University in Bloomington.
Senator Rogers and her husband Louis, a retired firefighter, reside in Gary and have two grown children.