Mix of appreciation, ribbing at Smith’s final Third House session

A mix of appreciation and good-natured ribbing were dished out Monday when Milo Smith attended his final Third House legislative session as state representative for Columbus.

The 59th District Republican announced Jan. 10 he would retire from the state legislature at the end of the year after completing six two-year terms in office.

“The truth is that I’ve come to appreciate the character of this man,” said State Sen. Greg Walker, R-Columbus. “I will miss him.”

Over the past dozen years, the two lawmakers have developed a relationship where they might disagree one day but seek out each other’s counsel the next, Walker said.

Smith described the senator as a “good friend,” and shook his hand.

The ribbing began a few moments later when Walker described some House bills to the Third House audience as “pretty screwy.”

“We’re still friends,” Smith replied.

The biggest laugh of the morning came when Bartholomew County Democratic Central Committee chairman Bob Hyatt stood to thank the Republican for his years of service.

“However, there’s a sense of disappointment because we were planning a retirement party for you in November,” Hyatt said. “Now, we’re happy to move our friend, Greg (Walker), up on our target list.”

As the audience let out a hearty laugh, both lawmakers seemed to take Hyatt’s remarks with a grain of salt.

Six Republicans will be seeking Smith’s seat in the May primary: JoAnne Flohr, Ryan Lauer, John D. Counceller, Lew Wilson, Benjamin Chastain and Allen K. Smith II.

The two Democratic candidates vying this May for 59th District State Representative are Mary Kohen and Dale Nowlin.

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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.