"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

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Representatives Hall

I spent part of last summer and autumn working temporarily (part-time basis) for a continuing ed/lifelong learning nonprofit. I had been doing some consulting there and when they lost a staff member at a time when they were too busy to embark on the hiring process, I filled in. Shortly before I left, I was asked if I'd be willing to talk to a class about being a State Representative in the spring, when they would tour the State House. "Sure," said I.

Friday was the day of their tour. The director of our State House visitors' centre is a constituent of mine, and she knows everything about the building and its long, long history. I joined the group tour at the outset, and when we arrived in Representatives Hall, they sat down in the front rows of Division 3, and I described my life as a legislator, from filing for office to an average session day.

Because part of my job last year was shooting photos for the course catalogue and marketing materials, I took my good camera along with me. Old habits die hard, and I thought I could capture some fun pics of the group on their tour. (And I did.) But I also benefitted. Usually when I'm in the Capitol, I have the Chap's little pocket digicam. With my own, and with plenty of time to play with it, I was able to take some pictures for myself.

Here's our entrance to the anteroom behind Reps Hall.

The red arrows are pointing at the back of my seat, number 93 in Division 3. It's the 4th one, next to the last row.

This was taken from the House Clerk's vantage. The arrows are pointing at the electronic vote tally apparatus. You can see the layout of the five divisions. Each seat position lights up when the member has pressed the red or green button at their seat. We're allowed 30 seconds to cast our vote.

Divison votes and roll call votes are both taken electronically. The equipment isn't at all new or high tech, and we have to wait a few minutes to let it "rest" if we have two electronic votes in a row.

Our chamber, the oldest continuously occupied legislative chamber in the nation, has become my home away from home. I'm glad I had the opportunity to shoot it when it was unoccupied and I had some time to roam about. I got a lot of good stuff.

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