Feb 182011

Yesterday was my big roundtable with Lt. Governor Becky Skillman. How did it go, you ask? Well, I came, I saw, I conquered probably won’t ever be invited back.

I love seeing people who normally reside in my computer live and in person, and it was fun to see familiar faces and meet some new fellow moms and bloggers. Our group had members from urban and rural areas from around the state, and I enjoyed hearing everybody’s backgrounds and the issues they brought up. The Lt. Governor was asked about topics like broadband access in rural areas, sustainable agriculture, education, and food choices in schools.

And then there was me. I wanted to intelligently inquire about the Lt. Governor’s opinion on bipartisanship and the fact that it seems to be getting so acrimonious, leaving folks like me, who are socially liberal but fiscally conservative, feeling that no one speaks for us and leaving us less motivated to stay interested in political issues that directly affect us. But while I have no fear of public speaking, when I started talking I could sense people whipping out their cameras to snap photos of the Lt. Governor because our session was about over, and I suddenly thought, “oh yeah, I’m addressing the second-highest elected official in the state.” And then I found myself rambling about voting with my heart and the legacy of debt we’re leaving our children and basically asking Becky Skillman, “so why should I care?” And while I am proud of myself for stating my disappointment with this week’s horrible marriage amendment vote (thankfully at least one other mom agreed), I did at one point hear myself say that I almost didn’t vote in the last election due to all those hard-to-stay-motivated issues, but that I did because I LIKED GETTING THE “I VOTED” STICKER. Move over, Lincoln, I am clearly the finest orator to ever step foot in the Statehouse.

So was it a surprise that I was left off the follow-up email from Becky’s office that listed the participants? (Kidding of course, I know it was an accident…or was it?)

Honestly, though, I was honored to be included and happy that I went. Despite my disagreements with her party’s politics of late, I was impressed with Lt. Governor Skillman. She was actually very warm and welcoming and answered all of our questions very well considering she was put on the spot for all of them. Even mine—she mentioned the high percentage of bills in Indiana that pass with a unanimous vote, that the conflict in our state can oftentimes be urban vs. rural more than between parties, and that her friends in Washington have described the increase in rancor in both sides and agreed that something had to change.

So there you have it, in a long-winded nutshell. I guess after touring the Statehouse and chatting with the people in charge, this Illinois-bred girl is going to have to finally start calling herself a Hoosier.

p.s. Blogs written by the lovely women in attendance with me: Moosh in Indy, Queen of Free, DesignHer Momma, Wisdom Comes Suddenly, Bargain Briana, Redefining Perfect, The Fourth Frog Blog, Gotcha Baby, Just Like The Number, Inexpensively Frugal Blog Network, Thought for Food, Eteranal Lizdom, Chaos Is Bliss, Simplified Saving, City Chic on a Farm, Deal Wise Mommy, Going With What We’ve Got, Fairy Tale Mom, The Lazy Christian, Arrows Sent Forth, Nap Time in NapTown, The Average Parent, Smiling Green Mom, Walking the Off-Beaten Path, Beyer Beware, BagNItAll.

  32 Responses to “Ms. Flesworthy Goes to Indianapolis”

  1. Such a fun story–great job representing your mommy community! I also notice a large number of red heads in that picture….they ask us to do things like this because we are honest (and outspoken)!

  2. I thought your question was great! And sometimes I vote to get the sticker, too. Sometimes I vote because I can’t stand Dan Burton, the rep from my district, and I want him out. And sometimes I vote because, for some reason, the guys at my voting place think I’m hispanic. See me? The pale one at the top? Yeah, I got mistaken for a lovely Latina last time I voted and they gave me directions in Spanish. I’ll go back every time if that’s the case…

    • DUDE, were you reading my mind at the Statehouse? Because when I was mentioning the sticker I was simultaneously thinking “and I also go to vote against Dan Burton.” Why? Why do we keep re-electing him? Although maybe he has an evil plan to confuse everybody with Spanish voting instructions…

      • What happens is that there are three other people running against him and they split the vote. He only had 48% of the vote or something last time—it was ridiculously low—but that got him in because there were three other people who spread the other 52% among themselves. They just need to pick ONE other candidate to run against him!

  3. I’m so glad you asked your particular question – I loved it and thought it was a great way to end the discussion. And a heck of lot more eloquent than anything that would have come out of my mouth.

  4. I LOVED your question — it was heartfelt, passionate and timely. I don’t think she was offended in the least– you were diplomatic and respectful. It was a great way to end the discussion, as I felt her answer was hopeful, reassuring and inspiring. I did laugh when your name was left off the list. I wouldn’t take it personally!!

    • Thanks! I agree she did a nice job of answering my question. And I laughed, too, at my name exclusion–and laughing even harder at the thought of being banned at the Statehouse just as I’m starting to feel like a true Hoosier!

  5. I think it was a great question — and one that is probably pretty commonly shared among people. It is so easy to feel removed from what happens in our government. It was pretty cool to be there with the Lt. Gov. and have our voices heard. I also loved being in the Statehouse when the legislature was in session. So much buzz going on!

  6. Your question was very well put. I think no matter what side someone deviates toward, the partisan nonsense that occurs in our political system can get anyone disillusioned to the point of giving up. You stated what so many of us have felt down deep in our cores but couldn’t bring to the surface. I did the think the rural v. urban divisions were interesting (something I was completely unaware of!), too.

    • Thanks! Relieved to know I didn’t sound like an idiot. And the whole rural v. urban thing didn’t occur to me, but once she mentioned it I thought, “oh, yeah, she’s right.” I grew up in southern Illinois, which always seems to get ignored by Illinois politicians in favor of Chicago, so I could completely understand.

  7. Dang, this is a funny wrap-up. The “move over Lincoln” line made me do the awkward loud laugh/snort.

    I’m glad it was a diverse group with opinionated women. Otherwise it would have been a boring hour.

    Be proud that you actually spoke up. There’s a reason why I blog and don’t do public speaking. :)

  8. Dang, this is a funny wrap-up. The “move over Lincoln” line made me do the awkward loud laugh/snort. I’m glad it was a diverse group with opinionated women. Otherwise it would have been a boring hour.

    Be proud that you actually spoke up. There’s a reason why I blog and don’t do public speaking and the reason ain’t pretty. :)

  9. Argh! Somehow dominated your comment section. So sorry! Please like me anyways. :(

    :) :) :) :)
    So cool.
    I’m very inspired by you. Way to go. What a great experience.
    You are a blogging phenom!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. I loved your question too! I am not into politics at all because I end up being so frustrated, so I think you used your voice for all of us. (And I was impressed that you used the word bipartisan because I barely knew what it meant…but don’t tell…I’m trying to maintain a facade of intelligence)

    So glad I got to meet you!

    • Thanks–so nice to meet you, too! Glad to know I wasn’t the only one in the room that felt that way about politics.

  12. I love you to the moon and back, and am so glad that you asked the question. I not only learned a bit about what makes you tick, I learned that we have a few more things in common than at first glance.

    You are bold. You are brave. And that’s a good thing.

    • Aw, shucks, you’re making me blush. The feeling is mutual! So happy to know we have even more in common than a love of good design and the mitten state :)

  13. I thought your comment was a good one too. It’s hard to be straight anything these days, and it is VERY much a rural vs. urban vote sometimes. Just ask a farmer about tax caps! It felt like the Lt. Governor was getting a pulse reading from us, and we showed that ours beats very well. Nice to meet you, and I look forward to reading your blog.

    P.S. We farm about 5 miles from the state line! I can see Illinois on a clear day! Here’s a peak from the crow’s nest:


    • Lots of my extended family members farm, so although I hadn’t thought about the urban vs. rural vote, it totally made sense to me once she mentioned it. Love those photos of your farm!

  14. So awesome to meet you!! It was a great event and I totally agree with what you said “it’s amazing to put all of our friends who reside in our computers into real live people!” So fabulous to meet everyone :)

  15. Loved your question to Becky, and yes she was very responsive and welcoming! BTW just because we live in Indy doesn’t mean we have to call ourselves Hoosiers! I’m a transplanted Buckeye, and always will be. No offense to the Hoosiers, because it is a great state! 😉

    • It’s hard to break those ties to home, isn’t it? I’m slowly coming around to calling myself a Hoosier, but I’m always an Illinois girl at heart!

  16. Amazed at how you posed the question with such grace. I am a little, ok a lot, frustrated with how we waste time on social issues in government. We have important issues that revolve government funding and then we go and discuss gay marriage at length. For crying out loud, there is no need for government to decide who can marry and who cannot. Just let everyone get married to who they want to marry. That is a social/moral issue on an individual case by case basis. I think being pushed on in any field makes you stronger. Keep on pushing sister!

    • Thanks! And I share your frustration about social issues. All the shenanigans happening in the statehouse this week definitely proves we have bigger issues to be worrying about!

  17. I wanted to thank you for coming to the Statehouse. This is the first time I’ve done a roundtable like this, but I’m glad I did. If ever I needed a group of advisers, I certainly have a group of knowledgeable, clever and creative women to call upon.

    Jennifer – thank you for your question during the event. I encourage you to continue to blog and let your voice be heard.

    Becky Skillman

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