Get to Know the 24%: Representative Cindy Kirchhofer
Representative Cindy Kirchhofer’s foray into politics began in her own backyard. When a large, national retailer intended to move into her neighborhood, the community decided to band together to speak with a unified voice in order to ensure their peace and privacy were protected. That voice soon became Cindy Kirchhofer, who worked with the mayor and city council to ultimately secure a compromise that satisfied the interests of both big business and local citizens. Her talents did not go unnoticed by the local Republican Party, who soon approached her about running for the state legislature. In 2010, she upset the incumbent and became the representative of Indiana’s 89th District.
As someone who has worked in the healthcare field for the last twenty years, Representative Kirchhofer is a passionate advocate for physical and mental well-being and was appointed the Vice Chair of the House Public Health Committee in 2015. While her interests in public health are varied, Representative Kirchhofer is particularly interested in addressing Indiana’s growing opioid problem. She recalled with concern how her husband, a local firefighter and paramedic, would report at least one heroin overdose on almost every shift. In response, during the last legislative session, the Representative fully supported a bill that allows healthcare providers to provide to family members a prescription for an opioid reversal agent. While this medication does not prevent heroine abuse, it can arm a family member with a solution to possibly prevent death until the patient can seek medical attention. In addition to addiction and drug use, Representative Kirchhofer is interested in addressing human trafficking, sexual offenders, and gun crimes in the upcoming legislative session.
When asked about her greatest legislative achievement, Representative Kirchhofer knew immediately: a bill she authored during the 2015 session that will double the funding available for domestic violence prevention and treatment centers from $5 million to $10 million over the next two years. Domestic violence had become a growing concern in the Indiana House of Representatives as an issue that can happen to anyone; however, Representative Kirchhofer felt the need “as a woman to step up as a champion.” Her efforts will fund domestic violence shelters and care providers to aid in the prevention, care, and recovery of individuals and families across Indiana who suffer from domestic violence.
Representative Kirchhofer encourages women to be active in their communities and have a voice in the political process, especially in issues that concern women and women’s health. As a wife, mother, and a full-time risk analyst for a hospital system, in addition to her legislative duties, she understands the challenges of finding time to get involved. However, she encourages women to take any leadership role, whether it’s with the PTA, political parties, or even being involved with what happens in your own backyard. She remarked how individuals and companies want to see more women in leadership, stating “Women flourish, even if you start small. Women just flourish.”
About the Author
Catlaina Hackworth joined Women in Government as a Graduate Mental Health and Substance Abuse Policy Fellow in September 2015. Catlaina graduated from Georgetown University in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in Government. She went on to study Forensic Psychology at the George Washington University, completing her Master’s internship at a correctional re-entry program based in Washington, D.C. Prior to her graduate studies, Catlaina worked at a federal lobbying firm that specialized in telecommunications and securities regulations. Currently, Catlaina is pursuing her doctorate in clinical psychology at the George Washington University; where she conducts individual therapy and psychological assessments.
About Future WIG
Women In Government supports women of all ages in leadership roles, and is working hard to ensure that young women are given the resources and mentorship they need in order to achieve their goals. This program takes place at WIG Regional conferences, where WIG asks women state legislators and leaders in the private sector to encourage young women across the country to pursue leadership roles. This program is made possible by Southwest Airlines.