In coming to work at Unshackle as very much a political novice two years has certainly changed all of that. There were some basic steps I had to take, including voting in my first local election as well as for my first school budget (before it was only one time voting for president and that was because, well, it was the President). I also learned the names of state representatives, and that they do in fact have a job that is important. National politics is far from the only thing that matters. And I learned patience. Because, while I’d heard it said before things are different in experience, politics takes time.
Often too much time. I’ve worked for two years and issues that were set on my desk the first day are still bouncing around Albany (and I know many of them have been bouncing around longer than I have). I may know more about politics now, about the steps and the process and the people, but something that hasn’t changed about me is the frustration. I understand that there are different parties, and different people, and different opinions, but while those all exist common sense seems to be missing. The Scaffold Law, the 18-a Assessment, Design Build and Public Private Partnership expansion, these don’t seem hard to me. They seem like simple choices, common sense choices, that shouldn’t take quite as much debate as they already have.
And maybe that’s because I was a novice. Maybe that’s because, even with two years under my belt, I’m still not a career politician or a professional lobbyist. Maybe it’s because, while I’ve seen the intricacies and the infighting, I can still see everyday life. And I see everyday life first.
Albany is important, state government controls a good deal more than many casual news viewers are aware of. I know I wasn’t aware of it. But because they have that control, they need to do their job. They need to do it efficiently. If any small business, or even a large corporation, were run like that state legislature it would be out of business in a week. Businesses can’t take multi week vacations every few months. Employees can’t stop showing up in June. Owners can’t delay decisions for years. I have learned to look at politics in detail, differently than I did before. Maybe it’s time for legislators to take a step back and look at their jobs a little differently too.