Wednesday, February 22, 2006

highlights of my day

..."most republicans are rich. that's what the republican party is all about."

(chuckle). as i was going up the stairs at the capitol, i heard some lady telling this to a bunch of highschoolers. i thought it was funny.

YES! that's me next to a pillar of swirling chocolate. are you envious yet? well, you should be. this was part of a chocolate treat table set up in the House Lounge. the chocolate was from Bedre Chocolates (i think i'm supposed to italicize that). mrs. jo manning Jett's LA (legislative assistant) told me about the choco setup in the lounge. she had gone up to get some chocolate before me, and had come back with a small platter of fruits, a tiny choco treat, and a choco-dipped strawberry. so i went up expecting to get the same. fortunately for me...i was wrong. i had to walk past the house pages to get to the lounge. no sooner than i stepped into the lounge, a handful of chocolate candy bars was thrust in front of me. not cheap candy bars either. they were the know, you pay twelve bucks for at the mall. okay so maybe that's not true, but they were very good candy bars. i'm not finished yet though. next, the guy that gave me the candy bars offered me a few of the tiny chocolates. then he asked me if i liked peanuts. i said "sure." so he gave me a chocolate cookie (not a baked chocolate cookie, but a chocolate cookie) with peanuts in it. then he pointed me to the choco pillar and told me to dip some of the fruits they had into the bottom of the pillar and put it on my little platter. so i dipped some honeydew and a grape. and finally he told me to try some of their choco covered pringle-shaped chips. i was loaded up. i told the guy i'd be back to get a pic of the chocolate pillar. heh, then i had to walk back past the pages with my spoils =-D. needless to say, i had a great day.

P.S. and yes, as you can tell, i did return and get my picture.

P.P.S this happened on the 22nd :-P

Sunday, February 19, 2006

My Week

(random) hey, i just stumbled upon this quote a second ago: "There is no one alive who is youer than you" - Dr. Suess. i just thought it was neat.


Well, my great week started last Sunday. I went to church with the Novo Ministries group (only the coolest collection of people here at the TC). The Novo people go to various government housing projects and put on Bible clubs for the kids. After church, we went to Val's house and celebrated Amanda's birthday, played some games, went to evening service, and returned to the TC sometime after 7:30.

Monday - Thursday are my work days at the capitol. I really enjoyed this week, main reason being that the House actually accomplished somethings in session this week. I got to watch them pass a few bills on Tuesday and Wednesday. It was pretty cool. While there was no debate on any of the bills, there was one bill that the author received quite a bit of interrogating over. I think it had something to do with health insurance. There were only three reps questioning the author but...they certainly had a lot of questions. I think they were democrats, but I'm not sure. I do know that the author was a republican. Anyway, after they were through with their interrogation, the voting began and they (the three questioners) were quick to vote "Nay." Heh, they were also the only ones to vote negative. Two of them ended up changing their votes later. One changed his vote when the count was around 15 - 3. The other cracked at 48 - 2. So in the end the the tally was about 98 - 1 (a few reps weren't present during the vote).
I also got a glimpse of "the ugly side of politics" as my Rep. Jett put it. What happened was, another rep came into Jett's office to chat for a little bit. So they chatted for a while, and then Jett asked the rep (we'll call him "Rep. In The Know" or "ITK" for short) what he knew about another rep's trying to steal one of his (Jett's) bills. This other rep (we'll call him "Rep. Bully" or "Bully" for short) is the chairman of the committee that Jett's bill was going to be sent to. Because committee chairmen basically have the power to kill a bill even before it's heard in the committee. So, in the course of Jett's conversation with ITK, it became evident that Bully was trying to use his chairman power to get authorship credit for a bill he had not done any work on. In other words Bully's name would go on the bill as "Author," and Jett would be demoted to co-author. Yes it's a very mean thing to do. From what I have been able to gather, it is something that is done often between republicans and democrats. But, in this case, Bully was a republican seeking to steal a bill from another republican - Jett.

Oh boy! it's dinner time and i must go. (sigh) and i was supposed to tell you more about Rep. Jett. oh time...hopefully.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

"See, honey, all they do is talk."

I was standing in the House gallery on Monday afternoon, waiting to hear the State of the State address. The state representatives on the House floor, democrats and republicans, were cheerily greeting each other as they gathered in the chamber. It was the first day of session and they were happy to be together again. Those of us packed in the gallery were more than ready to hear the governor, but the state reps seemed unaware of us as they carried on their conversations. I had thought they would start right away. Finally, I looked at the program I had been given. Wow, it was going to be a while before the speech. There were a lot of formalities to get out of the way first. The roll had to be called. Then there were a few motions that I couldn't follow. After which, a motion would be made inviting the Senate to join the House in a Joint Session. A few more procedures, and the Lieutenant Governor gets to speak. Finally a committee would be drawn up to invite the governor to the session.
While I waited, I observed my representative. I had met him earlier. Shane Jett: about 5' 10", dark brown hair, grinning eyes, and cowboy boots. A man of poise, vigor, and clarity. An extreme extrovert. I watched him as he greeted his fellow reps. For a 'freshman' representative on his first term, he certainly gets around. Talking to Majority Leader Susan Winchester, laughing with Floor Leader Cargill, stepping up to the Speaker's box to converse with Lieutenant Governor Mary Fallin, he stops and talks to everyone he meets, now and then clapping a brotherly hand on their shoulder. While I watched in fascination, a mother and walked up with her two children to peer over the railing before they left the gallery. Evidently she had given up on waiting to hear the governor's speech. Her son, who was probably nine years old, looked like he wanted to stay. After she told him that it was time to leave, and they were walking out of the gallery, she said "See honey all they do is talk." I chuckled at this hasty summary of legislative duties. However, as the week went on, I almost believed her.
Why? Because, in this first week they have done virtually nothing in session. There have been a few bills passed out of various committee meetings, but in session they have done nothing but…well…talk. Now, I’m sure that later on they will get very busy passing and debating bills but right now they seem preoccupied with “niceties.” For instance, I have heard them sing happy birthday to birthday people at least four times – and once a couple of reps sang in harmony. I have heard them pass resolutions recognizing certain people or sports teams for their triumphs. At times the House Floor has sounded more like a social parlor:
“The Chair recognizes Representative [A] for a [comment ].”
Representative A rises and thanks the Speaker and then proceeds to talk about how Representative B should wear some funny outfit to show his/her support for the OSU football team. Whereupon, Representative B gets the Speaker’s permission to give his/her response to Representative A. This repartee continues for some time (and it is moderately entertaining), and, from what I have noticed, tends to end when the reps begin to announce the committee meetings that will start after adjournment.
Of course, the committee meetings are much more productive, and I seriously doubt that they will continue in this fashion next week, but it is surprising to see it happen at all.
Anyway, I am really enjoying working for Representative Jett, and I’ll try to tell you more about him next time.

K. Todd

Saturday, February 04, 2006

The Roll of Things

Alright, so I've been here for almost a week now. I'm doing pretty well. Getting back into the roll of things. Though I wish things rolled a little more my way. When I was at the OTC last fall, I spent the last month of my time working in maintenance. And, while this is not my cup of tea, I at least enjoyed a lot more freedom. No curfew. Didn't have to dress up (I do like dressing up most of the time). And I didn't have to ask if I wanted to go somewhere. But now that I'm back for Gov/Rel, I'm getting used to all the rules again. It's not that I hate the rules, but I just have to get used to them again.

I really am having a good time. Everybody was like, "Welcome Back Todd!!" I just drank it all in. Ahh, the illusion of popularity. Jay topped everyones greeting when he jumped me from behind with a bear hug. Yeah, I felt like the king.

So about internship...Mr Bedford, who started Gov/Rel, is back in charge (he was in D.C. working for Senator Coburn during my fall training. He's been reviewing the training with me, reading over bills for the '06 legislative session, looking up different representatives that I might work with, and revealing the mysteries of Microsoft Excel to me. Oh, and I'm sure my mom's glad that Mr. Bedford's got me waking up at 5:50 every morning for prayer. On monday I'm supposed to go to the capitol to get some practice at using the law library, hopefully meet my representative (probably Rep. Reynolds), and then watch the 'state of the state address.' Yup, I'm looking forward to it.

'Til next time.

K. Todd