What Have You Learned in the Past 3 Weeks

Here’s what my state representative, Jason Kander, has come up with for the past 3 weeks. I can’t claim to have been as productive . . .

10. While it’s an honor to receive an appointment to the budget committee as a freshman, it’s also pretty intimidating to be on that committee when Governor Nixon is inheriting such a troubled deficit.

9. Just keeping up with my day-to-day schedule is a challenge! Whenever I think that I’ve caught up, I come back to my office and find a desk full of legislation, research, or correspondence that needs my attention. If you know me at all, you know I actually love this aspect of the job.

8. It’s going to be tough to get used tousing language like “the gentleman from St. Louis County” when giving a speech.

7. Reporters pay VERY close attention to the words you use and they are definitely earning their salaries.

6. It’s easy to lose touch with reality if you spend too much time talking only to other politicians (especially if you only talk to folks from your own side of the aisle). I’ve learned a tremendous amount by setting up phone calls with Department Directors, University Presidents, etc.

5. My staff is incredible. Without my legislative aide or my interns, I think I would be a complete and total mess.

4. The Republican majority has the option of shutting the Democratic minority out of all policymaking for no reason at all.

3. The title of a bill may sound good, and the summary may sound great, but it’s extremely important to read the actual language. I almost got burned on this a week ago and I’ve resolved to treat every potential “yes” vote like I do a potential signature on a contract.

2. A law degree and some experience practicing law is, I think, a real advantage. I count myself very lucky to come into this with so much experience interpreting and arguing over the meaning of state statutes.

1. It seems like there are at least five lobbyists for every one legislator in the Capitol at any given time

Keep on keeping on, Jason.

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