Former Democratic lawmaker Wayne Townsend dies at 89

Democrat Wayne Townsend 1926-2015

Former state lawmaker Wayne Townsend – who was the Democratic nominee for governor in 1984 – died Friday. He was 89.

A farmer in Blackford County, the Democrat served three terms in the Indiana House and then 16 years in the state Senate.

“As a longtime state legislator, Sen. Townsend fought for what he knew could be a better state and nation,” said Indiana Democratic Chairman John Zody in a statement.

“Whether it was equal rights, education, agriculture or sticking up for working families, Wayne Townsend was a quintessential Hoosier leader through-and-through,” he said.

In 1984, Townsend ran for governor and chose Ann Delaney to serve as his running mate, the first time a woman had been on a gubernatorial ticket in Indiana. Townsend lost to Republican Robert Orr.

During his time in the Senate, Townsend cast the deciding vote as Indiana ratified the Equal Rights Amendment. He was also active in education legislation.

Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, said Townsend “leaves behind a great legacy of leadership.”

“Wayne was a solid family man, a farmer, and voice for all Hoosiers who was beloved by the people of his district and across the state,” Lanane said in a statement. “My heartfelt sympathy and sincerest thoughts are with his family during this time.”

Lesley Weidenbener is executive editor of, a news service powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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