Over the past week or so all the major news outlets had stories about the congressional freshman class orientation. Being issued Blackberries, meetings, who the kewl (I think that is the new term for it now) members are, who gets what office, that type of thing. We understand the entire process can be seem a bit overwhelming.
Even locally in our very own state capital will have their own version, on December 12-14. It won?t be as quite as intense as the folks in Washington are getting. I understand all the committee assignments have been completed. The budget address is coming up directly. The South Dakota Legislative Research Council (LRC) is busy getting their web site up dated. Just about everyone is getting ready for next year.
Not quite sure what happens during these orientations, but somehow they, the ones we elect, stop being one of us and start becoming, like one of ‘them.’ Not sure if it is in the water or neckties are a too tight or what. There is some speculation on the matter, most of it swirls around money, who has it, who?s getting it, and who’s getting soaked.
Some people say once they get a feel for their power, they lose touch, and don?t seem to listen to what we have to say. Others have speculated they just don?t want to talk shop when they are not on the job.
Lawmakers say, that the people don?t understand the ?big picture? or there is a ?process? or ?procedure? and it just doesn’t, happen at least not that fast.
I would like to encourage all lawmakers, at the national, state, and local levels to remember who elected you. With the upcoming holidays, no one really wants to talk about politics. We get that. However, that doesn?t mean you can forget about us.
Take a few weeks and enjoy the holidays. Next year, we are going to expect great things.
Here is a couple of ideas that will help keep you in touch, and Kristi, John, Tim these can work for you too.
- Get an e-mail that doesn?t end in .gov maybe something from google or yahoo. and answer every e-mail, even if it is cut & paste.
- Get an ?official? web page or facebook page. Keep it up to date.
- Start a blog and make frequent postings. (if anyone needs help with this they can contact the SDWC at firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Set up weekly or bi weekly Internet press conferences, cracker barrels, coffees UStream.tv is a great place to start.
- or forget the Internet, just announce where and when. It doesn?t have to be anything formal. you might find the more informal the discussion, the more information you will walk away with.
- When the legislature or congress is not in session, invite a few families from your district over for a dinner, take them them out, or have a multi-family potluck, or a even a community cook-out every other week. Let them lead the discussion.
What ever the way have a discussion. We really don?t want any of our lawmakers to fail. We want them to succeed. Most cases we are willing to help you. We don?t want you to become one of ?them?, we much rather have you there as one of us.