Todd Rokita

Todd Rokita
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 4th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2011
Preceded by Steve Buyer
Secretary of State of Indiana
In office
December 1, 2002  December 1, 2010
Governor Frank O'Bannon
Joe Kernan
Mitch Daniels
Preceded by Sue Gilroy
Succeeded by Charlie White
Personal details
Born Theodore Edward Rokita
(1970-02-09) February 9, 1970
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Kathy Rokita
Children 2
Alma mater Wabash College (BA)
Indiana University, Indianapolis (JD)
Website House website

Theodore Edward "Todd" Rokita (born February 9, 1970) is an American politician who has been a member of the United States House of Representatives from Indiana's 4th congressional district since 2011. Rokita, a member of the Republican Party, previously served two terms as Secretary of State of Indiana from 2002 to 2010. When Rokita was elected to office in 2002 at the age of 32, he became at the time the youngest secretary of state in the United States.

He was a candidate to replace Mike Pence in the 2016 Indiana gubernatorial election after Pence withdrew from the race to be Donald Trump's running mate in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. However, Indiana Republicans went on to select Eric Holcomb, Indiana's current Lieutenant Governor and Pence's second in command during his administration.[1]

Early life, education and career

Rokita grew up in Munster, located in Lake County in Northwest Indiana. Rokita attended Munster High School.[2] He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana, where he was an Eli Lilly Fellow. He is a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity.[3] He has a law degree from Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law.[4]

Rokita was a practicing attorney. In 1997 he joined the secretary of state's office as general counsel. He later became deputy secretary of state.[5]

Indiana Secretary of State

Rokita was elected by his peers nationally to serve on the nine-member federal executive board of the Election Assistance Commission.[5] The commission is charged by law to address election reform issues on a nationwide basis. Rokita has testified about Indiana's voting reform efforts before the United States Congress.

As secretary of state, Rokita visited each of Indiana's ninety-two counties at least once per year. Rokita was named as one of the "40 under 40" by the Indianapolis Business Journal. Rokita was active in the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), and after serving as the elected treasurer, he became the President for the 2007–2008 term.[6]

Rokita was a named defendant in the Hoosier State's voter identification case went before the U.S. Supreme Court on January 9, 2008; the combined cases of Crawford v. Marion County Election Board (07-21) and Indiana Democratic Party v. Rokita (07-25) involved the Indiana voting requirement laws that require voters display state-issued photo IDs before voting. In April 2008, the US Supreme Court upheld that law. Rokita also served as Indiana's chief securities fraud investigator.

In September 2009, Rokita outlined a plan to reform how Indiana's legislative districts are drawn to reduce gerrymandering. He proposed making it a felony for lawmakers to use political data or incumbents' addresses when drawing electoral maps. Indiana's congressional districts and districts for the Indiana Senate and Indiana House of Representatives will next be redrawn after the 2010 Census. Rokita says boundaries should follow existing county and township lines, and that each of the 50 senate districts should be divided into two house districts, claiming this will lead to more competitive legislative elections.[7]

U.S. House of Representatives

Committee assignments

Rokita previously served on the Committee on House Administration.[8][9]


On Aug. 4, 2014, on an Indianapolis radio program, while discussing the 2014 American immigration crisis, Rokita expressed concerns about the ability of border patrol agents to properly process and screen individuals entering the country illegally. He stated that “from a public-health standpoint” that we “need to know the condition of these kids” while citing the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa as a news event that shows how rapidly diseases can spread. In response to reports stating that Rokita believed that illegal immigrants could be carrying Ebola, he clarified that “the sudden spread of Ebola in Africa is merely one example of how we must take deliberate care to prevent an outbreak of any type of disease inside our borders.”[10] Rokita also cited news reports indicating that nationals from 75 different countries had been apprehended between 2010 and 2014 illegally crossing the Mexico–United States border.[11]

In October 2013 during the American government shutdown, Rokita was interviewed by CNN journalist Carol Costello. Her pointed questions about Rokita's defense of the shutdown that furloughed hundreds of thousands of government employees without compensation while he continued to receive his paycheck, were eventually countered with his statement that she was "beautiful but you have to be honest" and that journalists were part of the problem.[12] The Congressman's office issued a statement that he intended no offense by his comments.

In April 2007, Rokita was speaking at a Republican event, and encouraged Republicans to reach out to African-Americans. He mentioned 90 percent of African Americans vote Democratic, after which he asked, "How can that be? Ninety to ten. Who's the master and who's the slave in that relationship? How can that be healthy?"[13][14] Four days after making those remarks, he apologized.[15] Rokita also met privately with eleven members of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus to apologize for the comment. Representative Vernon Smith, D-Gary, told reporters, “He apologized to our satisfaction. We do believe he was sincere in his apology," Smith said. "I think there are greater issues – education, health, economics for the black community – that are more important than us spending all this time on a slip of the lip. I do believe that we all make mistakes (and) that if we expect to be forgiven, we need to forgive." During the course of the same private meeting Rokita was told his office should reflect the diversity of the state, at the time of his remarks 89% of the employees in Rokita's office were white.[16]

Political campaigns


On June 15, 2002, Rokita won the Republican nomination for Indiana Secretary of State in the third round of voting at the state convention. He won the nomination over Mike Delph, then an aide to U.S. Representative Dan Burton, Marion County Coroner John McGodd, and then-Vanderburgh County Commissioner Richard Mourdock.[17]

Rokita went on to win the general election with 53.4% of the vote.[18]


He received the Republican nomination again in 2006 and won the general election with 51.1% of the vote in a year when Democrats took 5 of Indiana’s 9 Congressional Seats.[19]


On February 1, 2010, three days after Congressman Steve Buyer of Indiana's 4th congressional district said that he would retire at the end of his term, Rokita posted an announcement on Facebook making clear his intentions to run for the open seat.[20]

Buyer's announcement touched off a free-for-all among area Republicans to succeed him. Ultimately, thirteen candidates entered the Republican primary, including Rokita. With a Cook Partisan Voting Index of R+14, the 4th is one of the most Republican districts in the Eastern Time Zone and tied for the second-most Republican in the state (behind the 5th District). It was taken for granted that whoever won the primary would be heavily favored to be the district's next congressman.

Rokita won the primary with 42 percent of the vote, and went on to win the general election with 68.6% of the vote.


Rokita won the general election in 2012 with 62% of the vote.[21]


Rokita won the Republican nomination in 2014 with 71% of the vote.[22] He won the general election with 67% of the vote over John Dale, a teacher at Western Boone High School.[23]


Rokita won the Republican nomination in 2016 with 60% of the vote. He faces John Dale again in the general election.



Rokita is against federal government regulation over farming. A representative of a heavy-farming district in Indiana, Rokita has voted in favor of deregulating farmer restrictions, earning him an "A" rating from the American Farm Bureau Federation.[24] He co-sponsored the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act – passing the House in March 2011 – in order to prevent the "significant burden on small businesses for little obvious environmental benefit." Rokita also co-sponsored the Preserving America's Family Farms Act – which passed the House in July 2012 – citing Indiana's dependence on youth work on family farms.[25]


Rokita has been a supporter of charter schools and reducing the role of the Department of Education in setting education policy.[26] As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, he had an active role in crafting the Every Student Succeeds Act, which reauthorized the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act.[27][28]

Gun Control

Rokita is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, saying "I’m proud of my 'A' rating from the NRA. If we are going to keep up our traditions and pass them on to our children, we need leaders in Congress who understand, and will fight every day, to protect our 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms."[25][29] Rokita voted in favor of a bill "Requiring State Reciprocity for Carrying Concealed Firearms" in November 2011.[30]

Health Care

Rokita opposes any Health Care regulation that increases the national debt, earning a "B" rating by the National Taxpayers Union 2011 Positions on Tax and Spending.[31] He opposes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and was the key vote to repeal the health care law and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.[32] His healthcare voting record has given him an extremely low approval ratings from care-related interest groups such as the Association of University Centers on Disabilities and the American Nurses Association.[33]


In 2010 Rokita signed a pledge sponsored by Americans for Prosperity promising to vote against any Global Warming legislation that would raise taxes.[34]


On April 2, 2014, Rokita introduced the Strengthening Education through Research Act (H.R. 4366; 113th Congress).[35] The bill would amend and reauthorize the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002 and would authorize the appropriation of $615 million for fiscal year 2015 and $3.8 billion over the 2015–2019 period to support federal educational research, statistical analysis, and other activities.[36]

Personal life

Rokita is a member of the Director's Circle of the Indiana Council for Economic Education, the state bar association, the Knights of Columbus, and the National Rifle Association. Rokita has also served as Chair of NASS's New Millennium Young Voters Summit of 2004, chair of the standing Voter Participation Committee and vice chair of the Securities Regulation Committee.[37]

Rokita formerly lived in Clermont, an "included town" in Indianapolis under the Unigov system.[38] However, the 2010 round of redistricting cut out the 4th's share of Indianapolis and Marion County, leaving Rokita's home just 500 yards from the new 4th's eastern border. Members of Congress are only required to live in the state they represent, though it is a strong convention that they live within their district's borders. Rokita ran for reelection in 2012 from his home in Clermont,[39] but later bought a home near Brownsburg, a western suburb of Indianapolis that is within the 4th.[37]

Rokita's oldest son, Teddy, suffers from Angelman syndrome. Rokita and his wife, Kathy, have been active in promoting awareness on the syndrome.[40] They participate in and organize charity walks related to Angelman. He has cited his son's ailment in policy speeches.[41]

A commercial-rated pilot, Rokita volunteers his time by flying people in need of non-emergency medical care to hospitals and clinics throughout the Midwest for treatment with organizations that include Veterans Airlift Command and Angel Flight. [42][43][44] He is a member of the Indiana chapter of the International Flying Farmers.[45]


  1. "Indiana Governor Mike Pence". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  2. Franklin, Lu Ann (17 May 2012). "Munster speech team takes top state honors for lucky 13th time". Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  3. "Sigma Chi Candidates for the U.S. Congress 2010" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  4. "ROKITA, Todd – Biographical Information". Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  5. 1 2 "Vote In biographical profile of Todd Rokita". Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  6. "Rokita Becomes President of National Association of Secretaries of State – Newsroom – Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick". 2007-07-18. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
  7. Schneider, Mary Beth (September 8, 2009). "Lawmakers draw a line at Rokita's redistricting plan". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved 2009-09-08.
  8. "List of Standing Committees" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  9. "House Administration Adopts Subcommittee Assignments | Committee on House Administration". 2011-01-25. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  10. "Rokita Response to Column on Border Crisis | Congressman Todd Rokita". 2014-08-05. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  11. "Garrison8 - 4 FINAL by 93WIBC | Free Listening on SoundCloud". 2016-04-29. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  12. Fung, Katherine (October 3, 2013). "Rep. Todd Rokita To CNN's Carol Costello: 'You're Beautiful But You Have To Be Honest'". Huffington Post. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  13. Alexandra R. Moses, Mike Smith; Associated Press. "Racist remark angers lawmakers Representative: Secretary of State should apologize". Indiana Daily Student.
  14. Brendan Sasso (November 3, 2010). "Todd Rokita (R)".
  15. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-12-23. Retrieved 2007-04-17.
  16. "Rokita Apologizes To Black Lawmakers For Slave Remark". 2007-04-18. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  17. "GOP nominates Rokita at convention | Uncategorized". 2002-06-15. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  18. "Election Results : Indiana : 2002" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  19. "Election Results : Indiana : 2006" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  20. Schneider, Mary Beth (February 2, 2010). "Hershman, Rokita among growing field for Buyer's seat". Journal & Courier. Retrieved February 2, 2010.
  21. "Election Results : Indiana : 2012". Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  22. "Election Results : Indiana : 2014". Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  23. "Election Results : Indiana : 2014". Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  24. "Todd Rokita's Ratings and Endorsements - The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. 2016-05-03. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  25. 1 2 "Todd Rokita for Congress". Todd Rokita for Congress. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  26. Klein, Alyson (2013-01-03). "Conservative Rep. Todd Rokita Named Chairman of K-12 Panel - Politics K-12 - Education Week". Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  27. Alexis Moberger (2016-03-13). "New education law guts No Child Left Behind Act". Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  28. Klein, Alyson (2015-11-19). "House, Senate ESEA Compromise Sails Through Conference Committee - Politics K-12 - Education Week". Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  29. "Todd Rokita's Ratings and Endorsements - The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. 2016-05-03. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  30. "Todd Rokita's Voting Records on Issue: - The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  31. "National Taxpayers Union Rating - The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  32. "Todd Rokita's Ratings and Endorsements - The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  33. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-06-01. Retrieved 2014-10-13.
  34. "H.R. 4366 – All Actions". United States Congress. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  35. "CBO – H.R. 4366". Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  36. 1 2 "Congressman Todd Rokita biodata". 2012-01-27. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  37. "OFFICIAL LIST OF MEMBERS". Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  38. Carden, Dan (May 15, 2011). "Remap leaves U.S. Rep. Rokita outside his district". The Times. Retrieved May 21, 2011.
  39. "Local family opens the door on little-known syndrome - 13 WTHR Indianapolis". Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  40. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-10-06. Retrieved 2016-10-05.
  41. "Congress is listening… at least one member is — General Aviation News". 2011-10-19. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  42. "Indiana congressman flies veteran for free". Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  43. "Local News: Congressman Rokita featured on Lincoln Day menu this Sunday (5/15/13) | Greencastle Banner-Graphic". 2013-05-15. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  44. "Election Profiles 1 | News". 2014-11-03. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
Political offices
Preceded by
Sue Gilroy
Secretary of State of Indiana
Succeeded by
Charlie White
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Steve Buyer
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Indiana's 4th congressional district

United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Martha Roby
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Dennis Ross
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