An accomplished public servant from Northwest Indiana, State Senator Karen Tallian brings a wealth of experience to the Statehouse. First elected to the State Senate in December 2005 to fulfill an unexpired term, Tallian was re-elected in 2006, 2010 and 2014. She represents Senate District 4, which includes portions of Porter and LaPorte counties.
Prior to joining the Senate, Tallian served her community in a variety of capacities including serving as counsel to the Porter County Planning Commission, the Board of Zoning Appeals, the Portage Township Trustee, the Portage Fire Department Merit Board and the Portage Police Department Merit Board. Tallian was an adjunct professor at Valparaiso University Law School and taught insurance law. She has also served as President and board member of the Portage Parks Foundation, President of the Porter County League of Women Voters and the Director of the State Board of the League of Women Voters.
She currently practices law from her Portage office. Throughout her law career, Tallian has represented governmental entities and has worked extensively on water and sewer issues, zoning matters, municipal contracts and drafting ordinances. Tallian has experience in both state and federal court and holds law licenses in both Indiana and Illinois.
In the State Senate, Tallian has taken a leading role on issues important to working families, including labor issues, health care, property tax reform and environmental protection. In 2010, Tallian was awarded the Tommie Blaylock Award for Outstanding Leadership by the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) Local #104. She was also inducted into The Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana in 2010, having been invited to join the Society after the successful passage of her consumer protection law focused on reducing mortgage foreclosures in Indiana. In 2008, she received the Joan Laskowski Legislator of the Year Award from the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana. She was the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award in 2017 by The American Legion, Department of Indiana and was honored as a Small Business Champion in 2013 by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.
Tallian is the Senate Democratic member on the powerful State Budget Committee, which provides continuing legislative oversight of state budget implementation. She is appointed as the Ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, and serves as a member of the Senate Committees on Environmental Affairs, Local Government, Pensions and Labor, Rules and Legislative Procedure, Tax and Fiscal Policy and the School Funding Subcommittee. Additionally, she is a member of the state’s Environmental Quality Service Council, which has oversight of much of the state’s environmental policy, and the state’s Pension Management Oversight Commission. Tallian also serves as the Co-Chair of the Northwest Indiana Delegation, a bi-partisan group of legislators focused on the advancement of the Region.
Additionally, Tallian has been appointed to serve on the Labor and Economic Development Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures, a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staff of the nation’s 50 states, its commonwealths and territories. She also serves as a member of the Great Lakes Legislative Caucus, a nonpartisan group of lawmakers from eight U.S. states and two Canadian provinces, working to promote the restoration and protection of the Great Lakes and a subcommittee on NAFTA.
A 1972 graduate of the University of Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and psychology, the senator’s postgraduate work includes an associate’s degree from Chicago’s Harrington Institute of Design. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Valparaiso University School of Law in 1990.
Senator Tallian resides in Portage and has three adult children.