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April 20, 2010

So, what do we do?

Farrell Keough

Well sine die has passed and once again, our one party rule in Annapolis has won the day! In short, little of value got passed, but somehow more funding for programs and organizations damaging to Maryland slipped through.


This column could be a litany of winners and losers – but what would that really accomplish?


We helped fund CASA de Maryland who is suing our own Sheriff Chuck Jenkins – good plan, give them taxpayer money to sue one of our own elected officials!


We balked on dealing with the huge budget issues. You may remember the Brinkley/Pipkin plan which was a hammer approach. While it made good inroads, the “politicians” were more interested in re-election than in being public servants.


Don’t even get me started on reciprocity! If it is decided we will acknowledge gay marriage from other states or districts, logic follows we should do the same for gun laws. But, don’t expect that to happen!


The list goes on and on. In short, we did not deal with the hard issues of the budget and allowed yet more important rights and programs to slip away.


So, what do we do?


We have full time jobs. We can only mail, email, or call our representatives so much before we become ignored. We can only know of what we read in the papers – which, of course – is barely half the story.


So, what can we do?


We can avail ourselves of the opportunity to Meet & Greet our representatives! Not only will this give us the insight of what really happens behind the scenes, but it gives us the opportunity to directly connect with those who influence our everyday lives!


Consider the following: we read about our presidents and we think we know what they are actually like in person. But, truth be told, we only have a false image of the person based upon our own life experience coupled with the sound bites and planned events we see. In short, we know them through blinders.


Now, unlike the major events for national political races, (where you pay your money, maybe get a picture, but never actually talk to the candidate), we can attend the smaller events for the people who effect our everyday, local lives. This is not only an opportunity to speak directly with someone who is – or is hoping to become – a public servant, but these events are generally attended by people running for other positions as well – hence, they can be a one-time shot to find out about many of the people who may be your next representative. Sounds like a win-win!


So, here is the “inside scope!” Two events are taking place over the next week or two and they are not to be missed!


The first one is an “Annual Post-Legislative Breakfast Wrap-Up” for Senator David Brinkley. It will be a morning event on April 29 at Dutch’s Daughter. You will need to make reservations, so email here. Senator Brinkley has spoken at my Rotary Club and he does not pull punches – hence, you will get the real deal. I have no idea at this point if there is a minimum cost, but I am sure you will get a complete run down if you request information.


The second will be a “Meet and Greet” at the Cracked Claw, (the old Peter Pan) on May 2 from 2 – 6 P.M for Del. Charles Jenkins of District 3B. Again, you will need to make reservations, so email here. This event will cost $25 a person and $40 a family for pre-reservations – the cost will increase by $10 if you don’t pre-reserve and just show up.


Keep in mind that food will be provided; hence registering in advance is a must!


Both events are fundraisers. So, you may be saying to yourself, ‘why should I pay to speak to my representative?’ The answer is simple – running for office costs money and we all know that!


But, consider the difference. Many people running for office have small, select groups with large costs. These gentlemen know what it is to be a ‘regular Jane/Joe’ and these costs are very, very small! That says a lot, doesn’t it?


Don’t waste an opportunity to speak to these people! We so often complain after-the-fact about the idiocy of legislation. This is a real opportunity to influence the process in advance!


Having talked to these two men, (as well as a number of other people interested in serving the public), you will find that they do listen and they do change their minds with more information!


For instance, there is a Democrat running for the Board of County Commissioner, (yeah, I know, imagine me talking with and being friends with a Democrat?) and through our long talks about very important local issues, he/she actually changed his/her stance! (Some of the regular readers on this site may well know exactly who I am referencing).


In short, we need representatives who do listen and can change their mind with new information. ‘We” are that source of information! It is our honor and duty to stay involved! I hope to meet some of you at these events!


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