J. Sebastian Smelko serves in Ice Miller’s Public Affairs Practice, where he focuses on economic development matters and governmental and public affairs. He has a varied government relations practice that combines public affairs advocacy, traditional legal skills and strategic policy and political guidance. He represents clients in a wide range of matters before legislative and executive bodies at all levels of government.

Sebastian’s previous experience includes serving as general counsel for the Ports of Indiana and as a policy director and assistant general counsel in the office of former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.

Sebastian possesses a breadth of knowledge of the executive branch of government and procurement processes and has a deep understanding of gaming regulation and public safety policies; analyzing and drafting policy initiatives; and ushering legislation through the general assembly. He has experience in developing and drafting numerous pieces of legislation, including that impacting P3 matters.

Sebastian has worked on economic development projects with regional development authorities, port authorities and has advised on election and campaign finance matters. In addition to legislative work, Sebastian has experience advising local government entities on municipal, development and contracting matters as well as the state executive branch on a variety of complex matters.

Sebastian also has represented public utilities on a variety of water and wastewater policy initiatives.

Sebastian’s unique perspective in achieving his clients’ goals stems from his time on the governor’s staff, where he oversaw a variety of legal matters associated with the state of Indiana. He directed, managed and liaised with executive branch general counsels on a range of sensitive issues. As assistant general counsel, Sebastian advised and helped manage major litigation cases involving the state of Indiana and advised on issues such as casino gaming policy, capital punishments, public records, administrative rulemaking, legislative strategy, parole and sentencing structures and crisis/emergency management.

Sebastian spent five of his six years in the governor’s office serving as gaming and public safety policy director, a role which allowed him to work directly with the governor, legislators and outside interest groups on policy initiatives and expectations in the gaming and public safety sectors. He continues to maintain these relationships as he guides clients through their economic development and P3 goals.

A frequent speaker on local, regional and national platforms, Sebastian has presented on topics including gaming regulation, technology, public records laws, sports, politics and criminal sentencing reform.

Sebastian is a native of Pennsylvania and grew up in Punxsutawney, PA and lives in downtown Indianapolis with his wife, daughter and Maine Coon cats.