Monday, February 16, 2009

Lobby Day

I’m on a bus (I wrote this morning) with about 50 fellow members of the American Federation of Teachers (and a handful of students from Seattle Central Community College) as we travel together to our state capitol, Olympia, for a full day of rallying and lobbying on behalf of higher education funding and support.

Upon arrival, we’re supposed to break up into teams who will descend upon our local state congresspeople and senators and talk them up as constituents who share an interest in getting money for the post-secondary cause.

I’m kinda excited about getting into the office of my state legislative district’s representative, Eric Pettigrew, in part because I think I have a special “in” with him, given that his former campaign director was once a student of mine. (As it turned out, I played that card, but all it got was a laugh and a “Oh, now everybody is trying to take credit for him!”)

Anyway, that’s how naïve I am, to believe politics works this way (or works at all) and that’s why I’m giving (that is, gave) up a vacation day for this: I could have slept in a graded papers, but I decided that this mission warrants turning back students’ papers a few days later than usual—even if they don’t.

As usual, I was slightly on the outside of things; I had to take a walk around downtown Olympia to kill some time before gearing up to visit the offices we were scheduled for.

It was interesting to see the hierarchy: the senators seemed to have nicer offices than the legislator and we even got a room all to ourselves when we met with the senator from my district.

It’s not entirely obvious to me that any of what we did made any difference at all, but I’m glad to feel somewhat connected to the political process, but even gladder to be headed back home to Seattle, even though grading awaits.


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