Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Next Up: Annapolis

The final State of the Union address from President Obama is still swirling around in my head. But, nearby in Annapolis, the Maryland State legislative session is about to begin. I don't know anywhere near enough about how that works. I have friends who were or are in the thick of it, and I get by through their posts, and by asking a lot of questions.

I'll admit that for many years I had very little idea what was going on in the State Legislature. The big turnaround for me came when a friend aspired to serve as a state delegate and spent a good deal of time articulating why that was important. It was a personal connection that drove it home to me. "This is why state government is important. This is why Howard County needs the very best representation in Annapolis."

This year I am more focused on the legislative session than I ever have been, because of the two pieces of legislation drafted in response to problems in the Howard County Schools. Due to the hearing at the Howard Building, and the Town Hall Meeting at HCC, the term "Howard County Delegation" is on more people's lips than ever before.

If you support the proposed legislation concerning the Howard County Schools, then this is your personal connection moment. The Howard County delegation has an opportunity to respond to the concerns of citizens. Either they will, or they won't. As a citizen you have every right to communicate with them on issues of importance. You have every right to let them know that a lack of support for citizens on their part will result in a lack of support for them on your part. That's politics, after all.

Wanting a school system that is equitable to all children and that operates in a responsive and transparent manner is a priority for all citizens in Howard County. It reaches across racial, ethnic, and socio-economic lines. It is bigger than divisions between political parties. Pay close attention to which legislators are representing the concerns of citizens, and those who vote to protect the powers that be.

For many of us, today begins State Government 101. It is my hope that more eyes will be on Annapolis during this legislative session than ever before. Of course, we hope our legislators will do the right thing even if we aren't watching, but...perhaps the thought of all those constituents who wrote letters, signed the petition, and spoke at the Town Hall Meeting needs to be reinforced in their minds by careful attention from the folks back home: we have put our trust in you. We are watching.

I'd like to see unanimous support for this legislation, and I have written as much to every single member of the Howard Delegation. Have you?


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