Wednesday, March 29, 2006


SB 1528, which I am staffing, moved out of Senate Health Committee today on a bipartisan 7-0 vote. That's right, 7 ayes, 0 noes. In the days leading up to this, I thought the was going to face some serious opposition and that the Senator would even have to answer some tough questions from the bill's supporters before it could move out of committee. I had a stressful couple of days. I guess there's nothing like being over-prepared.

I think the Senators in the committee were pretty tired out after having a long debate about abortion that grew out of an abortion-consent bill that didn't make it out of committee. I think that helped.

Monday, March 27, 2006

I'm tired and I don't even have a title for this post
I guess I'm never too tired for an opinion.

A couple of weeks ago, the Senate Fellows stopped getting along so well. We had a heated conversation about calling people illegal aliens. Most of the progressives conceded that it's debatable whether or not the term is as xenophobic as other vicious racial slurs. I think we were pretty reasonable. A couple of people pointed out that illegal immigrant is a better term that still accurately portrays a specific type of immigration as illegal. They said that calling people undocumented immigrants hides the fact that they have committed a statutory crime. While I don't agree, I can see their point.

A couple of the other fellows descended into a fit about their right to say whatever they want to in seminar. Since this is their place of learning, they have a right to call people illegal aliens, and we have to understand that they can say whatever they want and we can't judge them. I almost expected someone to chant the snotty reprise that we all thought so cool when we were like twelve: "God gave me a mouth and I intend to use it however I want." I don't think that they listened to me or to anyone else when a number of us said that the terms hurts our feelings. I said that everyone gets a first chance with me because everyone has to learn good manners somewhere and I don't mind being a teacher. I also said that I can try not to judge, but if you know that something hurts my feelings and you choose to say it over and over again, well, then good luck to you in keeping my respect.

I thought, again, about how surprised I was to learn that some of the best and brightest could choose to be so hurtful when I read this article today. I know a barbarous border security bill was passed by the house in December, and I was heartened to see a few more humane ideas come out of the Senate. I don't know a lot about Senator Durbin, but I am always impressed with him when he makes the news.

I just realized that I compared California Senate Fellows to U.S. Senators. Are we just as good? After paying attention to the vitriolic junk that dribbles out the mouths of those on the radical right, I would say we're a whole lot better than some of them.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Longest Wednesday Ever

On Wednesday morning, one of the bills that I'm staffing was heard in Senate Education. I didn't expect much opposition and I didn't have to prepare any amendments, but I still had a good deal of work to do to prepare the Senator to speak about the bill. We also weren't sure she could be there, so I also had to brief another Senator who was going to present the bill for us if she couldn't make it. The bill made it out of committee on a bipartisan 7-2 vote, no thanks to a Democratic Senator who spontaneously decided that she didn't like the bill even though her staff recommended an aye vote. For the few brief minutes while she questioned the bill, I thought I was going to have a heart attack. Other than that, the hearing went smoothly and the witnesses were great. I breathed a big sigh of relief after spending the better part of the week scrambling to prepare for the hearing.

I spent the rest of the day pretty busy meeting with lobbyists and others who are giving me a hard time about another bill that I'm staffing. I left the office right at five to head to the airport and flew down to L.A. so I could meet with the USC Dems. They are a really enthusiastic group and pretty supportive of my campaign, so it was a comfortable meeting to attend. I thought the USC meeting was great end to a long, successful day. Unfortunately, I spend the next four hours of the evening on the phone dealing with frustrating internal campaign drama. Competitive elections are so important, but I just hope that I can keep things positive and make sure that people feel as good about the process as they do about the outcome.

It's easy to imagine that after I spent a few hours chatting at a friends house instead of sleeping, and then caught a 3am shuttle for my 6am flight back to Sacramento, I was totally exhausted all day on Thursday. Good thing I didn't have any meetings that day, because I know I looked pretty haggard.

So, yeah, my schedule is pretty ridiculous. I've had to move the part in my hair to hide the three white hairs that I've recently sprouted, but other than that, I'm still feeling good.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

"We're going to oppose your bill."

The proper etiquette for responding to such a comment includes smiling, asking polite questions without devulging anything that one should not yet divulge, and ushering one's unanticipated guests out the door. Um, yes, pleasant weather we're having, thanks for dropping by to let me know that you're going to try to destroy what I'm working on.

Lobbyists do not take it easy on the new kid. I'm the new kid. As far as they care, I'm no kid. Today it occured to me that moving bills through the legislature is an immense responsibility. This had never occured to me because everyone around me is doing the same thing.

I came home to face a long night on the phone. All good people to talk to, but I'm sure there has to be some repetetive stress injury caused by flapping ones jaws as much as I do lately. Can't wait to 1) Win and get down to some real work. 2) I'm not going to think about what happens in option two, but with fewer responsibilities, I think I'll have time for a great vacation.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Busy Month
Where have I been over the past month? Chico, Oakland, Philadelphia, San Jose, San Francisco, and I've been to most of these places several times. I think it would be easier to list where I haven't been.

I'm running for CYD president, and between now and April 28th, if I'm not at work, I'm on the road or on the phone. I'm meeting so many amazing and inspiring young people, but it's hard because my opponent has already started engaging in really negative campaigning. I've already been threatened that if I keep this up, I'll never be able to find a job in the building again. Such horrible, threatening, negative behavior is exactly what CYD doesn't need, and I'm running to bring inclusiveness and professionalism to the organization. There are a lot of great people behind me, and I'm totally fired up.

My job continues to be amazing, and it's turning into a place of respite because I get to focus on something other than my campaign. The fact that I mentioned the campaign first makes it look like the only thing on my mind, but my job is my top priority and I actually have no problem balancing both efforts. Leg. staffers must not use state resources for anything related to YD or other campaign efforts, so it's really easy for me to focus on working while I'm at work. Speaking of campaign efforts, my boss just picked up a crucial endorsement this week, so (fingers crossed) she is in a great place to win her primary!!

A new opportunity has opened up for me at work. A member of my boss's staff just moved on to a great new job, and she carried most of the Senator's health legislation. I've really developed an interest in health and family issues since I've been in the capitol, and my leg. director and COS let me take 2 of her health bills. So I'm now carrying health bills for the Senator! The best part is that one deals with the insurance industry and one deals with Medi-Cal, so I get experience in working with both.

That's all that I have time to write, as I have a campaign to get back to.