Mike Kennedy, our local state representative, joined me for my first Issues and Information meeting as a councilman. Thanks Mike! When Mike arrived at 6:50 PM we were the only two people in the meeting room. A few minutes later we were joined by one person and by the time people stopped coming (about 8:20 PM) over twenty people had attended the meeting.
The meeting was very interactive and since I was involved in the meeting I was not able to take notes. Lesson learned: ask someone to be the note taker for future meetings. Here is my brief summary which includes a link to the slides I used for my presentation.
Mike’s discussion was very interactive. He responded to questions about SB54 (the Count My Vote “Compromise which adds the ability for party candidates to use a petition process to get to a primary in addition to the caucus convention system), the proposed gas tax increase, relocating the state prison (Mike supports this but wants to be sure the state gets a fair price for the land), Medicaid expansion (as a practicing physician Mike brings an interesting perspective) … . He also discussed the process of getting bills passed in the legislature and what he learned. All in all it was a very interesting session.
Mike mentioned multiple times how much he appreciated input during the past session. He noted that often the most effective way to communicate with legislators during the session is to text them shortly before a vote or committee meeting. I will ask Mike to join us again.
During my presentation I reviewed lessons I’ve learned thus far as a councilman. The most relevant to the residents is that the most effective way to lobby for an issue is to discuss it with the council members one-on-one before a meeting. All council members welcome input and generally receive too little of it.
I also shared where we (the council and staff) are at with respect to setting 2014-2015 goals and showed where our revenue comes from and how we compare with neighboring cities relative to city property taxes.
The next Issues & Information meeting is scheduled for June 19th. Tim Irwin will be presenting. I’ve also asked the library to participate and share with us services that they provide of which most residents aren’t aware and/or don’t utilize.