Or assemble peacefully in Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman’s office. Whatever.
Last month I got an invitation to attend a mom bloggers roundtable with Indiana’s Lieutenant Governor. After working out the logistics of being at the statehouse at 3pm on a Wednesday, I responded with an enthusiastic yes! (Thanks Mom, for your visit and babysitting services).
I carpooled with Julie and Heather, and met up with fellow bloggers in the long security line on the statehouse steps. We proceeded to the Lt. Governor’s office, and took the last seats available. There were about twenty five of us assembled, and it struck me how many people I didn’t know in the room.
Women from all over the state had made arrangements to come to this meeting. Women from north of Fort Wayne, women from East-Central Indiana closer to Ohio than Indianapolis, and women from south of Terre Haute all spent their day in car to attend this meeting. If you weren’t sure if Indiana had amazing talent in it’s female bloggers before this assembly, this assembly is proof that it does.
As Amy mentioned in her post, I wasn’t exactly sure of the purpose of this meeting. When I asked on Facebook (the best place for crowd-sourcing questions, I’m finding) what was on my friends’ minds. the answers which resonated were education and health care, foster care and caring for women and children. Unfortunately, the Lt. Governor, while she oversees five agencies, doesn’t have a whole to do with these topics. She is, however, president of the Indiana State Senate, and gets to be the tie breaker if necessary. Anyway.
Our conversation ended up meandering from technological infrastructure in rural areas (there were many farm families represented in the crowd), to food quality and agricultural stewardship, to the quality of school lunches.
I think we could have talked with Lt. Governor Skillman for hours on these topics, and so many more, but alas, by the time introductions were over, we only had about 40 minutes. I’m pretty sure had our discussion gone on, we probably could have solved the problems presented, along with a few more, because an incredibly educated, vocal, passionate and connected group was assembled. If a political lobby ever caught the ear of the Indiana Mom’s Blog Collective, I’m pretty sure we could make something happen.
The session closed with a heartfelt question from Jennifer, who poised a question I think many women (and men) of our generation feel like asking. This isn’t an exact quote, but her question was basically what advice did the Lt. Governor have in regards to the bipartisan state of politics today, how can it be made better, and how, as citizens do we not get disenchanted with the whole process.
It was the perfect question to end our too-short session.
In short, the Lt. Governor told us that while the big issues get coverage and tend to divide down party lines, there are hundreds of things (in Indiana State Government, at least) that get voted on in agreement from both parties everyday. That in Indiana, the divide is more rural vs. urban (an interesting concept I hadn’t thought much about, but makes total sense) than it is R vs. D. She remind us that in our citizen legislature, our elected officials have to live and work under the laws that they make. That they do represent us, and that we have a voice. That we need to tell them what’s on our minds. She also (either at this point, or earlier in the conversation) brought up the point that while education is funded by federal and state funds, much of what’s decided is decided at the local school board level. Her points resonated with me – for as much political garbage there is to wade through, our government is still readily accessible to us. And it’s our duty to take part in it.
After the meeting, we posed for a quick picture which is currently refusing to upload here. Then I went on a tour of the statehouse that was really enjoyable. Then I went out for a most awesome dinner with Heather and Julie, and Jen (whom I met for the first time in person after countless Twitter conversations and Words with Friends games) and Sherry, whom I had just met for the very first time that day.
All in all it was a great day for many different reasons. And seriously — local politicians? Pitch the mom bloggers your platform. Tell us what you’re doing and why. We’d love to hear you, and I think you’d love to hear us.
More posts on this day can be found by the above bloggers, as well as at Six Just Like the Number, Redefining Perfect, Eternal Lizdom Smiling Green Mom and many more (and they all have photos, unlike me). If you’ve posted, let me know and I’ll add a link!