My Week In The General Assembly

| January 21, 2011 | 0 Comments

A lot of people wonder what a state delegate does.  You’ll frequently read about the Governor, Speaker, Senate President or committee chairmen.  But there are 141 Delegates, and most of us aren’t that high up on the food chain.  The McMillan Memo will take you behind the scenes for a look at the daily life of a Delegate, some issues and occasionally pending legislation, as seen through the eyes of your delegate.

As some of you know, I’m a “retread”.  I served in the House from 2003-2007, before unsuccessfully running for the state senate.  It’s interesting to return after a four year absence.  I already know most delegates, the routine, and the culture.  And while I’m honored and happy to be back, I have a much more realistic view about the difficult task ahead than I did in 2003.

The week following our swearing in ceremony is predominately social.  For someone like myself (I live in Annapolis, about four miles from the state house) it can be a bit much.  I enjoy a party as much as the next person, but two or three a night for a week?  As an airline pilot, I fly on the weekends, so I enjoy being home with my family. However, most of my colleagues are away from home and looking for something to do. They go home on the weekends while I’m flying.  So I make it a point to stop by a few events a week, usually with my wife Kathy, because while issues are important, personal relationships are too. Besides, these events are usually good for gaining/confirming useful information.

A case in point was Governor Martin O’Malley’s reception for delegates and senators at the Governor’s House.  Governor O’Malley and I both go to St Mary’s Church, and we’ve met before.  But his reception gave me a chance to get to know him a little better, and confirm some of his policy decisions.  During our conversation, while discussing Irish music, we discovered we were both U2 fans (and that we are both going to their June Baltimore concert).  More importantly, the Governor reiterated his commitment to deliver a balanced budget with spending reductions to the General Assembly, despite Senator Mike Miller’s desire for “revenue enhancements”. (Around here that’s code for “big tax increases”.)  Good to know Governor O’Malley is where I (and I believe most Marylanders) want him to be; at least for now.

From experience, I know the happy memories of these January parties will fade as the hard work begins, and bills make their way from committees to the floor.  Now is the time to get to know colleagues, read their bills, and do research for the debates that are sure to come. Because at the end of the day, this economy is no party, and our job is get this economy back on track.

Herb McMillan represents Annapolis, Arnold, Broadneck, Edgewater, Mayo, and Galesville in the Maryland House of Delegates. You may contact him at [email protected] or (410)-841-3211

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