This week, my son Conner and I had the privilege of spending a day at Capitol Hill with Representative Todd Kiser. We started the day listening to debate on Bills in the House Transportation Committee. The dialogue was easy to follow and my son found the different view points interesting. Also, he was able to see regular citizens participate in the Legislative process.
Next, we went to the House floor with Rep. Kiser. Here we got to see all the action of what goes on there. We watched the Bill calendar/schedule, heard debate on bills, saw how voting takes place, etc. Also, we were able to speak to a number of elected officials as well as House Leadership. My son found all this pretty exciting and everyone was very obliging.
Last, we got an “inside” tour of the Capitol. We walked all the back halls and passages which any kid would find pretty cool. We toured the Senate and House offices as well as the State Supreme Court Chambers. Rep. Kiser took us to the basement and showed us the retro-fittings of the Capitol building that have made the building more earthquake safe.
Our day at the Hill really got my son excited about the Legislative process. He is actually following the Bills we listened to in committee to see where they end up. When he hears reports about different Legislators, he feels a personal connection to them now. The Capitol building itself is now a working part of government in his mind.
WHAT I CAN DO
I bought my day at the Capitol at the Salt Lake County Lincoln Dinner silent auction, but anyone can do this with a little effort. Take a tour of the Capitol. The meeting point is on the bottom floor of the main Capitol building and the tours run hourly at the top of the hour. Sit in the House or Senate gallery while they are discussing Bills on the floor. Eat lunch at the cafeteria in the East building. You will run into all kinds of people including legislators. Attend a committee meeting or two. Email your Legislators ahead of time that you will be at the Capitol. Often, they will make some time to see you while you are there. If you are not able to get to the Capitol, you can follow Bills, listen to debate, see voting records, etc., by going to http://le.utah.gov.
Going to the Capitol during the Legislative Session and/or following along on the legislative website really involves you in the process of government. You will be an informed and active citizen. There is a certain amount of empowerment knowledge always brings.
Thank you for your service to the Party!
Christy Achziger, Vice Chair
Utah Republican Party