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Advise For New Legislators. 

Thought I’d put together some ideas that I’ve learned from serving in the NH House and being a truck driver. I’ve mixed the two together but I still think it’s worth considering:

  1. Stay away from leadership. You’ve been elected to represent your district so, do your job!
  2. Study, Read and Know Mason’s Rules of Legislative Procedure. It’s hard to get down the road if You don’t know the ‘official rules of the road.’
  3. Make friends with lobbyists. It’s their stock and trade (credibility) that gets things done including valuable information about what is really happening.

Don’t accept every political invitation that comes your way. Often these are forums to highlight higher level politicians like the senate, governor, etc.  More often than not you’ll be stuck with a $50.00 lunch bill and won’t even be recognized at the introductions.  Even worse you’ll get the Ray Burton treatment: He will recognize every selectmen, sewer precinct commissioner and hog reeve in the room by name then turn to the legislators, “will you gentlemen all please stand.”

Introduce Legislation yourself.  Forget all this leadership crap about how much it costs. If you have an idea then advance it with legislation. Write letters to the editor to let your constituents know what you’re doing. The LSR may likely be killed but this is still progress.

Stay away from lot lizards. Deliver all your loads early even if you’re turned from the main gate. Consider this as your doing your committee work and filing and amending various pieces of legislation.

If your batteries are dead you can jumpstart your truck by setting your reefer on continuous cycle and then using jumper cables to charge the four batteries. Do this yourself or ask other drivers to help you—they will. The same can be said of NH State Government lots of issues can be jumpstarted but you’ve got to do this.

A lot like the reasons you ran for the legislature in the first place.

Be safe always.








Reader Comments (1)

Interesting advice -- for all legislators, new and older.

I'm not sure about the "friends with lobbyists" part, but you sure should open a dialogue with them, as with anyone else. When you become too buddy-buddy, you've got to be careful not to get into the "favor-for-a-favor" syndrome.

And I'd add to your advice by emphasizing to follow your heart, not that of so-called "leadership." Don't accept titles they want to give to you, because those "titles" come with a price, usually loyalty. Be loyal only to your ideals and your constituents.

On a personal note, I never accepted a title from leadership, nor any "favors" like going on travel or to paid conferences --nor accepted any "awards" or "certificates" from groups -- that way, I owed no fellow legislators anything other than to listen to them. What you do in your job as a legislator isn't about you; it's about others.

Keep that in mind, you'll be happier, and more independent to do what you believe is right, not what other legislators expect you to do. Don't "beg" for committee assignments from leadership -- then they can't control you.

Overall, a good set of advice, Steve.
November 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJim Splaine

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