The Wheels of Government

Background

Today I had the chance to see the Ohio state government in action.  I sat in the gallery for the Policy and Legislative Oversight Committee for 2nd Hearing, All Testimony Political Parties for S.B. 193.  This bill originally started in the Ohio Senate moved rather quickly with a vote of 22 for and 11 against on October 8th 2013.  The purpose behind the bill is resolve a conflict in the current Revised Code that has been held unconstitutional by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Experience

I would recommend if you have a chance that you should sit in a committee meeting.  It gives you a perspective of what those you elect to office do on a given day.  The testimonies by those who stood to speak gave me an insight on things I had not thought about on my own. For example, one of the points of discussion was the programming requirements to have multiple ballots and multiple candidates from various parties on the ballot.  Another discussion point was how other states enable party declaration when you renew your drives license or during voter registration.  Again another place where data professionals would need to be involved to modify systems.  Today in Ohio party declaration is done by pulling a ballot during your parties primary election.

Order

The meeting flowed and there was order and discussion.  This was done by a couple things.  First, all testimonies was submit in writing and those testifying were each given time to give their testimony and field questions from the committee.  There was a discussion that allowed for a understanding of each side point a view.  Secondly,  the committee chair helped to set the pace and keep everyone on point and focus during the meeting.

Application to Career

As I traveled home from the State House a thought popped into my head, How could I apply this experience to work?

Here are the lessons I felt applied:

  • Listen to others:  They have experiences that are different than yours and see something that you are unaware of.
  • Think of the bigger picture: Is there a cost of your decision that you are unaware of?  Do you need to modify a system?  Change a organizational behavior?
  • Be prepared: Do your meetings have an agenda?  Is there any background that could be provided before the meeting in written form before the meeting?
  • Have a leader: Someone needs to be the meeting lead to keep order and flow.

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