As a former middle and high school social studies teacher, history and political science has always been a passion. As a college professor who prepared social studies teachers, I continued my love of history and political science. As a college administrator, government relations is part of the job. It is part of the job I enjoy. Today I have the wonderful opportunity to attend the first session of the House of Representatives in New Mexico as the guest of Representative Nunez. Wow...I am excited with anticipation.
I have been called to testify at committee hearings in Michigan. I have met with state and national senators and representatives and felt pride at doing my civic duty. But, today, being on the floor of the people's house is an honor. As I walked through the Capitol today, I could feel the difference from previous trips when I attended committee hearings. Today, New Mexicans were in their house. The building was full. People were greeting their representatives with cards and literature, exercising their voice. It was good to see the people sharing what was important to them with the people they elected to represent them.
Events of September 11 have kept the people and government at a distance for security reasons. Understandable, but regrettable. As I walked the Roundhouse looking for my representatives to say hello and share my concerns, I couldn't help but think of President Andrew Jackson. During his presidency people inundated the White House. He is sometimes thought of as the common man's president. President Lincoln often spent hours shaking hands of visitors who walked through the White House during one of the darkest periods of our history. Today in Santa Fe, I was reminded of Lincols's words, "We are a Government of the people, by the people, for the people."