This week’s column is written by legislative aides Sal Plascencia and Dross Martin.
I was given the opportunity to work for Rep. Ellen Roberts this session and for the Winter 09 semester. I have learned a great deal about politics this session and even more about the people of our state even more. Part of my experience is to see firsthand what a state representative does on a daily basis. It is educational in the relationships the representatives share with one another and the debates, which occur on the floor. It is in those debates that the people who are our elected representatives actually represent their respective district. House District 59 has concerns, which are different from that of House District 50 that is my own hometown of Greeley.
Representative Roberts asks me to do different jobs on a regular basis typically has something to do with direct involvement with her constituents. Most of the time people are very courteous and have great input for Rep. Roberts to help with her position on upcoming bills. There are a few people of course who may not be happy with a position she takes and although not the best part of the job probably one the most important parts. It’s great to hear both parts of an argument and although it’s not in the nicest way people sometimes put it their opinions are just as valid as the other. This one of the main reasons why working in the capitol is great; people are involved at all levels and are willing to bring their concerns to us here. Studying about the process is one thing but being a small part of it is a whole other story.
Sal Plascencia is a third year student at Fort Lewis College and currently running for senator for Associated Students of Fort Lewis College. He is originally from Greeley, Colo., and came to Durango to attend Fort Lewis College.
I have seen a great many things, which would lead me to believe in back-door arrangements, even judgments on laws on a bias of religion taking place in the different branches of the government. Let it be said, when you are gambling with taxes and fees in the legislative vs. human lives in the judicial the gaffe is indeed less severe.
If you believe that as a race — the human race, that is — we have evolved beyond the struggle of Attica and his counterpart, well I must say that you are mistaken. We have checks and balances, good decision makers, but that does not mean that representation is always fair and equal.
Sometimes I wish I could lobby a bill while working for Rep. Roberts. The rules say I cannot, but it’s hard when I witness the best logic get overridden by a tear-jerker story given in committee; scientific discussions void of any legitimate scientist and instead lead by the church; law enforcement arguing against a bill created to help them; and of course witnesses who forget they are testifying in favor of a bill and unknowingly urge the committee to vote against it.
Everyone in the Legislature, whether they be representative or senator, takes their job seriously. The way they see their job, priorities, responsibilities, loyalties, religion, or nationalism varies. Some have openly admitted their bias, others only vote on party lines. I think we should hope for logic and research when our representative is deciding what will become law.
My boss, who is also my representative, works hard to make the right decisions with as little bias and as much bipartisanism as possible. Her work with the Commission of Criminal and Juvenile Justice could reform the broken judicial branch, and I see the Youth Advisory Council as hope for our future. I respect her effort, even on the occasions where I disagree with her.
Dross Martin is a Legislative aide for Rep. Roberts, student at Fort Lewis College, and proud Durango native. He is currently working towards an English and pre-law degree.