INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Statehouse was quiet Wednesday as newly sworn-in President Joe Biden stood in front of the United States Capitol and announced “democracy has prevailed.”
In that silence, Indiana heeded Biden’s plea to “join forces, stop the shouting and lower the temperature.” Despite precautions by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the governor’s office, protesters did not show at the Indiana Statehouse on Inauguration Day.
Law enforcement was the only group present at the Statehouse during the presidential inauguration. According to a statement released Jan. 13, the IMPD worked alongside local, state and federal law enforcement to monitor social media for potential threats in the days leading up to the inauguration and maintain police presence at any rumored sites of conflict, including the Statehouse.
In response to recent violence at the U.S. Capitol, Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Friday that the Indiana Statehouse would be closed to the public on Tuesday and Wednesday. A few other Statehouses also closed this week due to fears of protests. All Indiana legislative activity halted during the week of the inauguration.
Sens. Greg Taylor, D-Indianapolis, and Shelli Yoder, D-Bloomington, supported the decision to close the Statehouse, but both said the closure of a government building as a safety precaution was indicative of a divided nation.
“We must remember that our primary concern is providing a safe environment for the dedicated staff who work in that building, the public who uses the Statehouse to make their voices heard and the reporters who keep us all informed,” Taylor said in a statement Friday. “This nation needs to heal, and we must quickly get back to working on behalf of Hoosiers across the state.”
Yoder said she felt federal tension created safety concerns at the state and local level, ultimately impeding the legislative process.
“We were elected to come here to do the work of Hoosiers,” Yoder said. “It's come to a screeching halt because we can't safely do so due to the rhetoric and actions of the outgoing president and his political allies.”
Yoder said she hopes to prevent safety threats by reducing polarization and focusing on implementing policies that benefit citizens regardless of partisanship, such as minimizing gerrymandering and promoting anti-racism.
“What Hoosiers have said again and again is we want common-sense approaches that make sense for Indiana and care and serve all Hoosiers,” Yoder said. “That takes bipartisanship.”
Fears of another violent insurrection did not come to fruition at the U.S. Capitol or the Indiana Statehouse. Biden, Yoder and Taylor shared messages of unity, stating the only way to heal the nation and prevent further security threats is to come together.
“Despite the partisanship and deadlock in our nation’s capital, here in Indiana, the Senate Democrats will continue to work with our colleagues across the aisle to stand for every Hoosier,” Taylor said. “It’s imperative that both parties put aside partisanship to make sure those who are struggling right now get the help they deserve.”
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article misstated the name of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.