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April 21, 2011

Life’s Luxury: A Boss Who Cares

Joan Marie Aquilino

Well, Annapolis closed the books on yet another legislative session. But the work doesn’t stop there for Del. Kelly Schulz (R., Frederick 4-A). She won her election last November and dove in fearlessly.


Kelly might have worn the label of a freshman delegate, but she arrived with open eyes and knowledge many aren’t lucky enough to bring with them in their first term. Having served as State Sen. David Brinkley’s assistant, worked with the local and state GOP, she was knowledgeable in the process. She returned to Annapolis with fresh eyes and the energy to do it ‘Schulz style’ this time.


As for her totally freshman assistant …… oh, my … What a world I entered. I questioned, did I click my heels and run the 70 some miles back to Frederick, or did I dig in and stay in Annapolis? I dug in. Quitter I’m not. I just prayed that neither the delegate nor her constituents would suffer because of my naïveté.


I was warned; I thought I knew; but it was a shock never the less. The process was daunting; but the people were wonderful, welcoming, kind – and so very helpful.


Being a business owner and local politico made me want this position, but I can’t say it prepared me very well. Loved it! No complaints! But, wow, what an exciting, overwhelming at times, whirlwind of a trip I embarked on.


Try keeping up with the bionic woman and learning not only what I’m supposed to do, but what she does and figuring out all the rest on a wing and a prayer. I’m glad my Mama raised me to fake it until you make it because I sure used that at times.


Pssst, don’t tell the delegate. She actually thought I knew what I was doing most of the time. Let’s keep this secret between us.


I’m not singing Kelly’s praises just because she signs my paycheck. I’d be doing it whether I worked for her or not. But having gotten through this session with her has given me a front seat view of what she can accomplish.


As a single mother with two fabulous sons, business woman, and volunteer and as our delegate, her level of energy rivals most everyone. She dove in head first and kept that pace for the entire 90 days. I pale in comparison, but I accept that happily because I know we are in safe hands.


Delegate Schulz took every bill that came before her as a personal challenge, doing her research, reaching out to those involved, informing her constituents of what was coming, and getting as much information as possible prior to coming down on either side of the issue.


Her manner of speaking on all bills was thoughtful and fact driven. She was able to keep emotion out of the floor debate. I never realized what an asset that was until I saw the tears and temper of so many others on the House floor. When Kelly spoke, it was with a soft, thoughtful, yet deliberate voice. The chamber would hush; people actually listened to what she was saying. If you can get others to listen, that’s half the battle. If they don’t listen you’ll never have an opportunity to change minds, or even share information.


Examples of her commitment to research came during the transgender bill which was touted as giving equal rights to all, but actually was written in such a manner to do exactly the opposite. It would force employers to ask very personal questions of any applicant. What an awful and awkward position to put either the employee or employer through.


Gov. Martin O’Malley’s pet wind energy plan would not have seen the conversations as to its purpose, costs and, ultimately, its lack of direction had it not been in part due to Delegate Schulz’s research. The same went for debates on taking “waste-to-energy” facilities to Tier 1. In the coming days and weeks she’ll be working even harder on getting the messages out to her constituents as to how certain bills will or won’t affect their lives.


I’m thankful we have elected officials who will go the extra mile and actually do the job and the research rather than just vote up or down purely on emotions, or what will bring them their next election victory. Kelly didn’t say “No” for the sake of saying “No.” But she gave reasons, alternatives, solutions as well as examples of how an issue would or wouldn’t work for citizens.


There are others right here in both Frederick and Annapolis who do care and are doing their jobs with you, the citizen, upper most in their minds, just like Kelly. This is about Kelly and her first session; but, please know, I came away with high respect for many in Annapolis. That respect crosses party lines when it comes to work ethics.


For those interested in reaching Delegate Schulz, know that she is still here for you. If possible give her a week or two to get settled back into Frederick and get her district office up and running. We started this session weeks behind the curve because of office revamping; and we ended it with having to pack up once again because of summer renovations in Annapolis.


Now we are waiting for the renovations to be completed on her local office. Not sure if I’m working for a legislator or a moving company, but I’m happy to be working so there are no complaints coming from this peanut gallery.


Delegate Schulz is only an email away.


. . .’til next time . . .


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