Today my daughter, I and about 70 other people from Decatur were lobbyist at the state’s capitol. We were all there to urge our state representatives to support continued funding for the Gifted Student Program in Illinois. Decatur’s program is faring well but others in the state are running into financial problems. We rode over to Springfield in two yellow school buses; I sure remember those buses being much roomier, either the buses have gotten smaller or I’ve gotten bigger – I say the buses have gotten smaller… Anyway, Rep. Bob Flider came out to meet us outside the capitol, then we marched in the capitol rotunda in our bright yellow t-shirts and met for brief photo ops with Rep. Bill Mitchell and Sen. Frank Watson. I was impressed with all three gentlemen. Sen. Watson has a very good tan! I might even vote for a couple of them next time 🙂 I couldn’t hear their speeches too well with the crowd noise but I believe they all share the same disgust with our current governor and his preference for funding projects well north of Central Illinois.
A scary ChangeDecatur moment happened too! Rep. Mitchell, who was one of the local politicians who stood against the ChangeDecatur movement – remember that horrid debate, was greeted by a ChangeDecatur supporter who happened to be part of our group. I was standing next to Mitchell and the man showed the button on his shirt and said to Bill Mitchell and me (I don’t know why me), the “change” is coming back. I don’t think Mitchell heard him too well but once he caught sight of the button with the ChangeDecatur logo he leaned back. I said to Mitchell “Oh yeah, you know all about that, don’t you?” Memories of the debate started filling my mind. I had totally forgotten about Mitchell being involved with the ChangeDecatur deal. Everything was going so pleasant until that point. Mitchell didn’t say anything and kindly moved to another location. I don’t blame him. That was a little awkward but hey that’s part of politics too – not everybody is going to be in love with you!
All-in-all it was a very interesting and enlightening trip, my first to our state’s capitol. We got to sit in and listen to a few minutes of House Chamber business. It sounded and looked more like an auction than a meeting to me. None of us could understand what exactly they were discussing or voting on. Something about mortgage stuff…I think. Most importantly it was a day to remember for my daughter. I told her when she becomes President, she’ll remember this day as her first brush with politics. Hey if not Hillary, than my daughter!
Some photographs of the experience: (Click thumbnails to enlarge)
I just thought this was the coolest sculpture, so I thought I’d post it here too! It stands in front of the Illinois State visitor’s center. The piece is by artist John Kearny, who’s famous for making metal sculptures. I so want one of those for my front yard – maybe just a little scaled down so as not to annoy the neighbors 😉