IN Brief

Hatfield won’t seek re-election; running for judge instead

By: - January 4, 2024 12:05 pm

Rep. Ryan Hatfield, D-Evansville, at a 2023 committee meeting. (Monroe Bush/Indiana Capital Chronicle)

A seventh House member announced he will not seek re-election in the fall, joining the growing list of House members opting to pursue other opportunities.

Evansville Rep. Ryan Hatfield, a Democrat, announced Thursday he will run for Vanderburgh County Circuit Court Judge, making 2024 his last session after seven years in the General Assembly.

“Serving the people of Evansville as their State Representative in the Indiana General Assembly has been one of the great honors of my life. I want to thank the constituents of House District 77 for allowing me to be their voice at the Statehouse since 2016. During my time in the legislature, I was proud to work on improving health care, expanding broadband, and an array of issues directly impacting Hoosiers,” Hatfield said in a statement.

Prior to his Statehouse tenure, Hatfield was a Vanderburgh County deputy prosecutor and secured on of Indiana’s first convictions alleging Munchausen Syndrome by proxy — now known as Factitious Disorder Imposed on Another, a disorder in which a caregiver acts as if an individual they are caring for has a serious illness when that person is not really sick, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

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Hatfield’s time as a prosecutor also included homicides, sexual assaults and drug offenses as well as working to rehabilitate drug-addicted offenders through the county’s treatment and veterans courts.

“Serving as Circuit Court Judge provides a unique opportunity to directly contribute to the fair and just resolution of legal matters that impact the lives of individuals and families in our community… This decision to run for Judge is deeply personal for me, driven by a profound commitment to fostering a legal system in Vanderburgh County that reflects the values and needs of our community….,” Hatfield said.

In addition to his duties as House Assistant Minority Leader, Hatfield also served on several committees in the House, including: Judiciary and Employment, Labor and Pensions, Public Health and Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications.

House Minority Leader Phil GiaQuinta, D-Fort Wayne, called Hatfield a “trusted advisor and friend” to himself and other House Democrats, highlighting efforts to eliminate school textbook fees and improve Hoosier health outcomes.

“Ryan’s ability to break down and analyze pending legislation always helped our caucus and the full House better understand the implications of a bill. The loss of Ryan Hatfield as a state representative is a loss for Evansville, the Indiana House of Representatives and all Hoosiers,” GiaQuinta said in a statement. “We all wish Ryan the best of luck in his future endeavors and send our best wishes and gratitude to his wife Kendra and three children.”

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Whitney Downard
Whitney Downard

A native of upstate New York, Whitney previously covered statehouse politics for CNHI’s nine Indiana papers, focusing on long-term healthcare facilities and local government. Prior to her foray into Indiana politics, she worked as a general assignment reporter for The Meridian Star in Meridian, Mississippi. Whitney is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University (#GoBonnies!), a community theater enthusiast and cat mom.