Following in the steps of our Rep! Pam invites constituents to “shadow” her for an inside look at politics in Harrisburg.
I often invite constituents to shadow me in Harrisburg as I work my day. Over the past 7 1/2 years I have had about 21 shadows and, interestingly enough, each of their reactions and responses have been similar at the end of the day.
Shadows are surprised at how fast paced and intense a day in Harrisburg can be. I tell them the day they just experienced is typical, and that many days are even more intense.
Many are surprised that the day is not more thoughtful and deliberative – particularly when we are considering more weighty issues. Many are surprised that I am scheduled for overlapping voting committee meetings, and expected to be present for question and debate at those meetings.
A few will observe that by the end of the day – which can be anywhere from 8 to 12 hours long – I have yet to sit at my desk, answer email or return telephone calls. These tasks must be left until the hustle of the day has subsided, or possibly for another day.
The reason I invite constituents to shadow me is so they have a better understanding of how the legislative process works. Hopefully they will take this experience and share it with friends, family and neighbors.
It is my hope that as a result of this experience they will understand the importance of civic engagement and that all citizen voices are important and that citizen input should be communicated to their representatives at the local, state, and federal levels.
Throughout my 28 year private sector career, I have been involved with public policy at the local, state, and federal level. As are many advocates, I was focused primarily on the issue at hand, i.e. whatever the needs were of the organization I was representing.
Even though I knew that there was a “process” that would either assist me in achieving my goal or delay or defeat my efforts, it was only after taking office that I obtained a healthier respect for how complicated and complex the legislative process can be.
Soon after being elected in 2010, I remember commenting on my surprise at how often politics trumped policy resulting in the greater good of our citizens not being served.
My commitment continues to be to educate constituents as to how important the process is in advancing their respective issues.
I enjoy the opportunity to share my day with ‘shadows’ and have citizens better informed as a result. Connecting with constituents in this fashion really energizes me and if you are interested in shadowing you can contact my Harrisburg office at 717-783-4945.
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