Whether I am just one voice, or we are four or seven or 19 or 18, we will be there. To say what needs to be said sometimes... on the house or Senate floor, in committee or halls of the statehouse. I am asked again and again why I'd want to serve in the Idaho Legislature representing a party that makes up only 25% of that law making body. I love the issues and also know that just being there to say when something is not right or to speak for the Idahoans who don't win the floor debate or the Committee vote. That's part of why we run. We, the fewer. The minority.
John McGee is a Republican law maker appointed to the Senate the same year I was first elected to the House. He is a moderate and a kind person. Speaking with him at College of Idaho last week, I felt how different are our experiences as legislators, his and mine even though in many ways we play somewhat parallel roles in our respective parties. We were chosen by our local presidential campaigns to debate together three times this election season on KBOI radio, each giving our rational as to which candidate won each of the Presidential and Vice Presidential debates.
But John serves as chairman of a the Senate Transportation Committee. He's been a possible appointee for Lt. Governor and the U.S. Senate. He cuts ribbons when new sections of freeway open. This year I will be a freshman in the Senate, the second to the bottom of the order of seniority there, bringing with me four years in the House, visible and often a lead voice on the issues, but never with a formal title, never a chair vice chair.
As a member of the Minority, by virtue of the process, I often speak for what does not pass, what never gets printed or even heard.
Most the battles on the House and Senate floors, the ones you see on Public TV are not partisan battles. Those bills we debate on the floor and the issues attached to them have made it out of committee with the support of the Majority, or at least some portion of those on the committee who serve in the Majority. I speak alongside republican colleagues in those debates and the legislature becomes a deliberative body where the partisan minority and majority lines blur. I will debate with John McGee this year in the Senate I am sure, on issues that have nothing to do with our political parties. We will make law together, Democrats and Republicans.
But listen to what issues Democrats raise. Sometimes only we will say what never got a hearing and what the Majority has decided is not going to be heard.
We, the minority (and the majority,) will be sworn in Thursday December 4th at 9AM to the Idaho House and Senate. You can watch it on line or on Idaho Public Television. http://www.idahoptv.org/leglive/