A Meeting with the Lieutenant Governor

The life of a mom blogger can be a strange one. In any given week, I get offers to advertise multiple products for free, samples in the mail that I may (or may not) choose to blog about, and invitations to various events around town. When the email came through from the Deputy Director of Communications for the Lieutenant Governor of my fine state, I took a moment to read it carefully.

Indiana’s first female Lieutenant Governor, Becky Skillman, had invited a group of bloggers for a round table discussion at her office in the statehouse – would I care to attend and partake?

Every woman invited was a mother and a blogger. There were twenty-five of us gathered, from all areas of the state. I got to meet in person a few people I’ve “known” online for years, which is always my favorite part of attending these kinds of events. After introductions, Lt. Governor Skillman gave some background information on herself. She was the first woman elected to State Senate Majority Leadership, and before moving to the state level, she served in government at the county level.

The questions started off about Lt. Governor Skillman – how did she balance her political life with her family when her son was young? Her answer was one that resonated with a lot of women in the room – it was having family near by, and having a somewhat flexible schedule that allowed her to forge her path. The story she told of bringing her son to work in the Lawrence County Courthouse, and seeing him slide down the banister in the hallway out her office door while holding meetings made everyone chuckle.

As the conversation progressed, issues from school lunches to the state’s technological infrastructure was discussed. What never did come up was political affiliation.

Every woman in the room agreed something needs to be done about childhood obesity, school lunches, and the importance of good food.

Every woman in the room agreed the state needs to continue to improve its educational process, because so many of society’s ills can be cured through education.

Every woman in the room agreed the state’s infrastructure needs to continue to improve; mobile phone coverage and internet access in the most rural parts of the state leave much to be desired.

We only had an hour, twenty minutes of which were taken up by introductions all around. If we had more time, I would bet that the women assembled could have solved the above problems with a few spreadsheets, some tweets and a phone call or two, no political affiliation required. If only politicians could move past labels, titles, and affiliations, I think a lot more could be accomplished.

What the Lt. Governor did charge us with was speaking out – so many decisions that affect our day-to-day life happen at a local level. While school funding comes from state and federal sources, the decisions on how to spend those limited funds are made at a local level. The citizens we elect to our part-time legislature live and work among us, and have to live under the laws they make. She encouraged us to be vocal constituents.

I’m working on figuring out, where, exactly, to raise my voice.

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