Messmer named 2021 Birch Bayh-Richard Lugar Government Leader of the Year

Senator Mark Messmer of Jasper has been selected as the 2021 Birch Bayh-Richard Lugar Government Leader of the Year by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce for his leadership in defending the state’s economy and providing business relief. Messmer authored the successful legislation (Senate Enrolled Act 1), which protects businesses that follow accepted COVID-19 safety guidelines from unwarranted lawsuits.

“Sen. Messmer’s leadership on this issue was especially noteworthy as it provides peace of mind for businesses of all sizes and types,” said Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar. “The law came as a great relief to businesses — particularly smaller businesses — across the state. That’s the reason this was our top legislative priority this session.”

Messmer also championed House Enrolled Act 1004, which funds the small business restart grant. Brinegar noted, “That program has gone a long way in supporting the businesses that have suffered most during the pandemic with the bridge funding necessary to make it to today.”

Messmer commented, “I’m very grateful to be honored by the Indiana Chamber as the Bayh-Lugar Government Leader of the Year. It’s very humbling to even be considered for this recognition.”

Regarding his authorship of SEA 1, Messmer, a business owner himself, said it was “critical to moving our state forward and allowing businesses to return to normal as quickly as possible. Without this law, there was a looming cloud of uncertainty from fear of lawsuits by someone claiming they were exposed to COVID-19 at a place of business.”

The law also provides liability protection for Hoosier manufacturers who stepped up to produce personal protective equipment.

Brinegar stressed that Messmer’s legislative contributions — past and present — are hardly limited to one issue. Among others, his efforts on broadband expansion, school choice and certified technology parks are also lauded by Indiana Chamber of Commerce leadership. Messmer has been in the Indiana Statehouse since 2008.

Last year’s Government Leader of the Year was Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box.

The Bayh-Lugar Government Leader of the Year Award will be presented at the Indiana Chamber’s 32nd Annual Awards program, presented by Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield, Nov. 9 at the Indiana Convention Center. Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling 800-824-6885.

The ceremony will feature three other statewide honors: the NextEra Energy Resources Community of the Year (announced as Greater Lafayette on Aug. 26), Dynamic Leader of the Year (announced as Megan Glover of 120Water on Sept. 2), and Ogletree Deakins Business Leader of the Year (to be announced Sept. 16). Recognitions in volunteering will also be given.

The event speaker sponsor is OneAmerica, and PNC is the opening reception sponsor. Corporate sponsors are AT&T Indiana, CBRE, French Lick Resort, NIPSCO, Tilson and Zimmer Biomet.

Contributing sponsors are AECOM Hunt, Community Health Network, Corteva Agriscience, Fineline Printing Group, Indiana Soybean Alliance/Indiana Corn Marketing Council, Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick, Markey’s Rental & Staging, MCM CPAs & Advisors, Roche Diagnostics Corporation, Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Sweetwater Sound Inc., The Kroger Company, and UPS.