Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Having Capitol open is more than symbolic

There were comments made in the media that the Capitol being open is a symbol of our representative form of government.  So true.  As many Minnesotans know though our Capitol was locked up "tight as a drum".  No public around other than essential employees, plus the elected officials, and the Capitol press corps.

But the Capitol is more than symbolism.  It is a living building which carries the vibrancy of history and the exhilaration of the democratic process.  Which the public did not experience for 19 days.

When entering the Capitol from the south steps today I was excited with the eagerness to participate in the process.  I wanted to see if legislation I fought for or against were still in the Special Session bills.

I engaged legislative staff in discussion.  Spoke and interacted with lobbyists who were there to see what may have happened to their legislative endeavour.  Spoke frankly with a number of legislator's about the last 19 days of having the Capitol wrapped up like a cocoon.

I have not seen the actual comments of Governor Dayton and Speaker Zeller when questioned by the press today on why all the secrecy the last few days.  Been told though, answers were basically, that public had opportunity for input on bills during regular session.  Also in the past meetings of legislators and members of the executive branch have been private.

But what was so different from public input on bills during the regular session and the private meetings as done in the past?

"Action and scenery of a great drama" called the Minnesota Shutdown.

For 19 days, this dramatic play took hold, people's lives were upset and the state shook.

The Capitol should have never been closed.

To have gone to the Capitol during shutdown people would have known we would get through this, the public would have been able to see and talk with their leaders and elected officials, for the public and lobbyists interested in legislative bills to engage and to participate.

The "People's House" is more than symbolic, it gives us a sense of continuity, it is who we are as a State and as a people.

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