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The longest-serving Republican in the Indiana House is resigning.

New Haven Representative Phyllis Pond says she‘ll step down in October to deal with pulmonary fibrosis. Pond used an oxygen tank during this year‘s legislatie session but maintained near-perfect attendance. She‘d already announced she wouldn‘t run for reelection next year,

Pond was first elected in 1978 — only former Speaker Patrick Bauer (D-South Bend) has been in the House longer. The former kindergarten teacher in the East Allen County Schools was instrumental in passing the Prime Time law limiting class sizes in Indiana.

Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) says he accepted Pond‘s resignation “with a heavy heart.” He calls Pond a larger-than-life presence and an “invaluable” leader on education policy.

Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) calls Pond “an amazing public servant.”

Pond made an unsuccessful bid for Congress in 1989 after Dan Coats was appointed to the Senate.

Pond‘s resignation is effective October 15. Allen and DeKalb County precinct leaders will caucus to choose a replacement by November 14, a week before the House reconvenes.