Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Working Government

At my event this past Saturday, I said something a bit controversial...but had the time to explain - Ideas aren't enough.

(While I recommend the entire clip, you can forward to 10:22 for my remarks.)

Across five different forums, countless conversations, and hundreds of websites, I've heard unique, fascinating, brilliant, and sometimes ridiculously stupid ideas about what individual candidates plan to do in Annapolis.  As a voter, I hope you will take the same question to all of us - How are you going to go about doing that?

There are 141 Delegates in the House of Delegates with seven committees and numerous subcommittees within each.  But most importantly, there are other elected leaders with individual constituencies, campaign promises, and personal aspirations.  There is a leadership structure that prefers not to be surprised and has ways of preventing the same.  And on your best day, your accomplishments are limited to one half of one branch of government.

Many people talk to me as if I never considered all of this.  Rather than ask me "How" I'm going to get things done, they ask me "why" I would ever consider the challenge.  The "why" is multifaceted and comes down to whether anyone can advocate for Ellicott City in the same way I can.  The "how" is just as complicated, but partly unknowable.  What committee will I have the opportunity to serve on?  What will be the composition of the Howard delegation?  What friends have I developed in the House of Delegates?

But the bottom line is this - you need to understand and master the mechanics of deliberative bodies.  You need to understand how to take an idea to execution through the scrutiny and personal motivations of others.  Most importantly, you need to be willing to put the idea first, above yourself, above your name, and certainly above your personal aspirations.

I don't given people credit for the bills they "file".  I have heard so many people brag about the bills they've filed or cosponsored that died on a desk somewhere in the state capital.  I will give credit for zealous advocacy and, most importantly, success.  That's how we evaluate our doctors, lawyers, and plumbers.  That's how we should evaluate our legislators.

Between now and the Primary, now and the General, I would recommend you evaluate your choices based not only on what inspires you, but also the brass tacks of what can be done.  I would suggest that the pool of qualified aspirants diminishes significantly under that lens.

Have a great Wednesday doing what you love!

PS - It is linked above, but please check out this fantastic interview Claire wrote regarding my campaign.