The roads were still slick, so I had to drive carefully.
The van near the old bus depot had a logo on the side. It was the shuttle for the Warming Center, an overnight shelter. One thought: I'm glad there is a safe and warm place to go. Second thought: it's sad that people are in such dire straits that this service is a necessity.
Pulling up to a parking space, I dropped in enough change for an hour and a half. If I got a parking ticket, that would probably be a sign that I should give up on politics. Right? Nah.
The event had, as always, a good buffet of munchies and a cash bar. We nibbled, we caught up with friends who were there, and then started pointing out the important people, those we were there to meet.
Meet, greet, work the room. Teachers really don't train for situations like this. Business people do, and politicians excel in the atmosphere. We're learning. More teachers are getting active than ever before. We must. There is no option.
Soon-to-be-former Gov. Walker didn't show. He didn't send a staff member, either. At least my congressman sent a staffer - someone who turned out to be familiar to me because his child was in my class a few years ago. Ah, my chance! I can do this; make small talk (I was sincerely interested in hearing about his son's progress), and ease the way for the more direct of my colleagues who would bring up the legislation that mattered to us.
I met and talked to or listened to my state assembly rep, another state assembly member from a nearby district (great guy - why have I not met him before?), & our county executive. I waved a greeting to my state senator (he doesn't know me, but I keep writing him letters) and signed all the attendance sheets for those elected officials who didn't see this event as necessary.
Now the real work begins. I've said it before, and you'll hear me say it again. Those with whom I spoke tonight won't remember me, my profession, or my concerns. Now it's time to write follow up letters.
Thank you for attending/ sending a staff member/ ignoring the Meet Your Legislators event in downtown Happy Valley. I attended as part of WEAC- FV.... that'll scare the Governor; maybe I shouldn't mention my sponsor. At least I didn't introduce myself as a Recall Volunteer. Okay, start over.
Thank you for attending/ sending a staffer/ ignoring the Meet Your Legislators event in downtown Happy Valley. I'm glad I had the chance to talk with you/ meet you/ wave to you/ leave my name on your calling card. I am deeply concerned about the negative politcal climate in our fair state.
The divisiveness, the bullying, the battles. The poorly written legislation, rough drafted in a hurry to be pushed through as quickly as possible while the Powers That Be are still in Power. As slick as a winter street.... oh, no, that's not even relevant. Revise, edit, slice, dice, and rewrite.
This kind of lawmaking creates problems, not solutions. Please take the time to consider and think of those who are affected by your decisions. We are real people, with real families, real jobs (yes! we work! hard!), and real challenges. These politically charged knee-jerk reactions to non-existent issues.... oh, here I go again. This needs to be redone, too.
Well, at least I have a rough draft. I will now pretend I'm a role model for those who read the letters, and I will take the time to read, reread, revise, and edit. After all, I am a leader in the community - a public school teacher, a public employee: a public school teacher.
How should I sign off? Suggestions, readers?
Respectfully (or not)
I know one thing - I'm sure not signing it "Love."