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Councilwoman Sharon Tucker has been selected by the Allen County Democratic Party to replace late Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry

State Sen. Jean Breaux dies after health issues forced her to miss 2024 session

Jean Breaux gestures, her index finger pointing up, as she speaks on the Senate floor. Breaux is a Black woman with black hair, wearing glasses and black jacket over her white top.
Brandon Smith
/
IPB News
Sen. Jean Breaux (D-Indianapolis) speaks on the Senate floor against Indiana's near-total abortion ban on Aug. 5, 2022.

Sen. Jean Breaux (D-Indianapolis) has died, the Senate Democratic caucus announced Wednesday.

Breaux had been dealing with an infection that caused her to miss the entire 2024 legislative session. Her office had released a statement Monday and said she would “focus on enjoying the time I have left surrounded by my loved ones.”

"Representing our community has been a highlight of my life and career, and it has filled me with so much joy and purpose," Breaux's statement said. "I send my eternal love and best wishes to you all.”

The Indianapolis lawmaker served in the Senate for nearly 18 years, first elected in 2006 to the seat her mother, Billie Breaux, occupied before her.

In her final statement earlier this week, Breaux expressed pride in her work to improve Black infant and maternal mortality, access to healthy food in food deserts and reproductive justice, among others.

In a statement, Senate Democratic Leader Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) said the loss will be felt by the “countless lives” Breaux touched.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.