I’m new to the legislature. I’ve spent years looking in from the outside and I was thrilled and humbled to be elected to the legislative assembly where I could actually make a difference.
Some days are worse than others. Most everything that makes it to the floor, passes. Much of it is inconsequential, but some of it hurts. Like carve outs for trial lawyers, or unions. Or having to fight to get schools funded at a level that’s barely adequate. I tell myself that elections have consequences, and that we all need to work harder next time.
Some days are better than others. Like last Friday.
I testified in front of the education committee for a short time in favor of a bill, HB 2830, that would prohibit the Department of Education from requiring school districts to implement Common Core instruction or assessment. In case you haven’t heard, Common Core is just the latest top-down, cookie-cutter approach to education that won’t work. If I get my way, it won’t even get a chance.
Last Friday afternoon, after I gave my short testimony, I sat down in the back of the room and watched as fellow citizen after fellow citizen got up and testified in favor of the bill. Some were School Board members. Some were parents. Some were just plain old ordinary citizens. Many were my friends. A few more are now my friends. It was great to watch.
We were lucky to be there. The chair of the committee didn’t have to let us even have a hearing, but for the last few weeks, my fellow citizens pleaded with the chair for a hearing. The next step is to have a work session and vote it out of committee to the floor.
If you want the names of some people to pester, members of the House Committee on Education await your emails. You might politely thank them for hearing testimony on HB 2830 and ask them if they can give it a work session and vote it out to the floor.
You never know. Your actions might just inspire a legislator who sometimes feels just a little bit overmatched.
State Representative Mike Nearman (R-Independence) is working hard for you on issues like this. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.