Illinois ASBO UPDTE Spring 2012

Page 11


FROM-THE-FIELD The Greater the Difficulty, the More Glory in Surmounting it One might think that the ins and outs of the political process are best left to the pros, the legislative liaisons and lobbyists, but are they really? These valued individuals have often spent many years gaining the trust and providing assistance to our State legislators and the process by which we work toward the betterment of our schools and communities. However, most legislators truly rely on their grassroots support to get elected and to vote for the public good. Most often they would much rather hear from their constituents regarding their true feelings and concerns on issues that affect their schools, homes and families. To get involved in the legislative process takes a bit of courage to get over the hump, if you will. But once you make the commitment it can be very rewarding.



To get involved in the legislative process takes a bit of courage... But once you make the commitment it can be very rewarding. Get to know your legislators and work to become comfortable in sharing ideas and concerns. My own experience on the School Code Task Force started with an innocent visit to the State Capital, fulfilling my commitment to get to know a friend and new legislator. In trying to understand what she did, I planned on visiting a committee hearing that was already in progress. However, what I found was an issue that I was passionate about, and unexpectedly coming to a committee vote that day. Within minutes of my arrival I was personally involved, giving public testimony at legislative hearing. Intimidating yes — rewarding much more so.

in the know. However the compromise was worked out by the grassroots support of many, rolling up our sleeves in a legislative task force, over many days and months of negotiations. It took time, but ultimately the School Code Task Force worked out a process that gives clear direction on school building code issues and is for the betterment of all schools across the State. There is no question that it easier to stand by the sidelines and allow the professional legislative liaison do their magic. The fact is that we all can assist to make their efforts more successful by participating, ultimately getting more for our schools, our students and our communities.

The result of that day, while not totally satisfactory to my position for our schools, evolved into a legislative process that was orchestrated by those

| 11