"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Friday, December 19, 2008

It's Official Now

Time to share my news.

By appointment of the Speaker of the House, I am the new Vice Chair of the Fish & Game Committee. She phoned me last week to ask whether I would serve. It wasn't a surprise, the chair of my committee had mentioned the possibility a while back. But it all depended on getting re-elected and our party retaining the majority.

A couple of days ago a press release went out, and the current legislative calendar lists committee leadership and assignments. Meaning this is for real.

So real, in fact, that yesterday I attended an all-day training for chairs and vice chairs. Information overload! Several people who, like me, were freshmen last term, have been elevated to leadership, either as vice chairs or, in one case, as committee chair. Although there's plenty more to learn about my new responsibilities, I already know it's an incredible privilege to serve in this capacity. And to interact with the other chairs and vice chairs--experienced and new--some of whom I already know, all of whom I respect and admire so much. Everyone was so welcoming and congratulatory.

Despite the name of my committee, we deal with more than freshwater and saltwater fishing and hunting legislation. Other areas of oversight include non-game species, marine resources, wildlife management, habitat maintenance, search & rescue operations, law enforcement, and other stuff. It's possible that eventually the committee name will reflect this broader mandate.

I have mixed feelings about being in "leadership" myself. Not a mix of good and bad feelings, just a mix. When I was first elected to the House, my ruling concern was fulfilling my responsibilities to my constituents and my committee, respecting and upholding the parliamentary procedures and protocols. I truly enjoyed being an anonymous individual, an almost back-bencher, in that vast body of 400.

My workload will be greater, that much I understand, and good time management will be crucial if I want to get any writing done--which of course I do.

I wasn't--and still am not--politically ambitious nor have any desire for prominence. Undoubtedly this is in reaction to previous professions, all of which required either a little or a lot of public exposure: stage actress, film & tv, book author.

I'm an introvert who manages a credible (perhaps misleading) impression of an extrovert. I'm either living as a creative hermit, or else I'm doing collaborative work with lots and lots of people. Reconciling these conflicting impulses isn't always easy.

Here's another contradiction: my titles. I'm still the Honorable Margaret. Yet now I've got a "Vice" attached to my name!

In recognition of my new status, a few Christmas tree ornaments that relate to Fish & Game & Wildlife:

Big storm arriving in an hour or so. No ice this time, but snow--possibly as much as an inch or two an hour.

If the Christmas party scheduled for tonight isn't postponed, I'm afraid we'll miss it anyway, we aren't venturing onto snowy and probably ill-maintained back roads after dark. The one tomorrow afternoon is in the neighbourhood, at the home of a fellow legislator. We can make it there and back without endangering ourselves.

About 50,000 households have no power. At our meeting yesterday, during lunch break, we had a briefing on the emergency by one of the Governor's staff. The hardest hit areas are the slowest to get back on-line. For them--and some of the legislators present were of that number--the wait must seem endless....

No idea when I'll blog again. My present priority is Christmas cards, online shopping, and finalising my gifts to the Chap and the pups. I'm not altogether certain what day it is, but I suspect Christmas is less than a week away now, and I suppose I ought to start thinking about planning a festive meal!

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