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Question of the day

Thursday, Nov 29, 2012

* State Rep.-elect Sue Scherer (D-Decatur) told Bernie that freshman orientation included a section on “things that you need to know but nobody will tell you”

“I remember the first one — you’re going to gain 60 pounds, and so take the stairs,” she said. “And your heels don’t have any give on marble floors.”

“So I have not even ridden the elevator, and maybe never will,” she said. “Because when there’s food out, it’s not like apples and bananas. It’s always like brownies.”

There was some serious advice as well, I’m sure.

* The Question: Your advice for incoming freshmen?

- Posted by Rich Miller        


140 Comments
  1. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:18 pm:

    Don’t eat too many of Lou Lang’s Colorado brownies, especially when he is working a bill.


  2. - reformer - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:19 pm:

    Be cautious about giving your word on legislation. When you do give it, however, and subsequently learn why you can’t support, apologize to the other party before the vote.


  3. - Cincinnatus - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:19 pm:

    Horseshoes are for horses, not eating.


  4. - Lobo y Olla - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:24 pm:

    Feel free to say, “I don’t know.” This prevents foot-in-mouth syndrome.


  5. - anon - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:26 pm:

    Stay out of the 2nd floor bathroom (formerly the ladies room, currently the temporary mens room). The men have absolutely destroyed it. I dont know if it will ever be restored to its womanly pristine state.


  6. - soccermom - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:27 pm:

    Cincy, I am happy to say that we are in total agreement.


  7. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:28 pm:

    Friends are people who will bring chicken soup to your house when you’re sick. Friends are not people who tell great jokes, buy nice dinners and rounds of drinks. Stick with your friends.


  8. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:29 pm:

    You’re not just elected to represent your district. You are a STATE legislator, meaning you also have a solemn duty to the entire state.


  9. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:30 pm:

    If after careful study you believe you really ought to vote for a bill, but your party is against it, VOTE FOR THE BILL.


  10. - PublicServant - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:30 pm:

    Don’t take bribes, it doesn’t pay … unless you’re from Chicago’s West side.


  11. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:30 pm:

    After 10 o’clock, it’s just drinking.


  12. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:32 pm:

    Get on an approp committee. Also, revenue.


  13. - The Captain - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:33 pm:

    Everything you think you know about who are your allies and who are your adversaries is wrong.


  14. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:33 pm:

    If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to Capitol Fax.

    lol

    Couldn’t help myself.


  15. - The Captain - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:34 pm:

    More progress gets made after 5pm than before 5pm.


  16. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:35 pm:

    Staff is important. Staff members should always be treated with respect because they work so hard and know so much. But you don’t work for them.


  17. - walkinfool - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:35 pm:

    Feel free to use the staff, LRU, and COGFA, for help in research, but do your own homework and confirm theirs.

    Stand up to all leaders and their staff on bills, and demand a compelling case for their position. The leaders respect well-informed strength more that they do compliance. And they understand you have your own constituents.

    Directly ask for support on both sides of the aisle for your own bills.


  18. - The Captain - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:36 pm:

    Treat staff well, including staff across the aisle, they’re going to save your butt more than once.


  19. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:36 pm:

    Don’t say dumb things to Bernie.


  20. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:37 pm:

    If you want to see what a loud troublemaker can accomplish in Springfield, check out the five people who supported Kyle McCarter’s leadership bid despite a disastrous GOP year. Honey works in this place. Vinegar does not.


  21. - Lil Squeezy - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:39 pm:

    Do not use cartoon characters, or mascots of any kind, to advance your agenda.


  22. - walkinfool - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:39 pm:

    This blog should be part of the orientation process.


  23. - The Captain - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:39 pm:

    Set a curfew. Only break your curfew once in February, no more than twice in March and three times in April. Come May it’s anything goes.


  24. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:41 pm:

    The best path to reelection is not your voting record. The most important person in your world is your district office manager. Poor constituent services and being invisible back home are the worst things you can possibly do. Vote your fully informed conscience and work hard back home. You’ll be fine. And if you’re not fine, you voted your conscience and there’s nothing to be ashamed of.

    But, notice the words “fully informed” before the word “conscience.” Don’t be an idiot.


  25. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:42 pm:

    Work your district, know your district, and .. Your District Office is for work.

    You are only half a smart as they tell you, and half a dumb as you think you are.

    Ask. Ask if you don’t know.

    Know the members on the other side of the aisle, not just their names and faces.

    Horse trading is good, horse trading your principals to spite yourself is dumb.

    Your Springfield Secretary, treat her well.

    Springfield Staff is there to help, not to help you Vote. Listen, learn and vote what you think.

    You can NOT say thank you to any and ALL staffs enough. Ever.

    You may have pet projects, so do your collegues. Some might even be the same. Know that!

    Get to know members in the other Chamber. Don’t just call them whenyou have a Bill you want passed.

    Never be shocked or surprised. It’s Springfield.

    Find a senoir member everyone respects and ask them if you can grab some of their time. Ask them questions you have!

    Did I say you can’t say thank you to Staffs enough???

    Do your Homework, know both sides of the Arguement.

    The “First Bill” jacket is not flattering, so get over it.

    Your Mayors or Alderman, or any elected officals in your district are a resource, they are also not the “all-knowing” Respect their opinions and advice.

    Smile. You will be surprised how much that helps.

    Pack your sense of Humor. you will need it.

    Think about what you are going to say, cut it in half, then cut that in half. Now you have your statement.

    Anything … Anything with your name attached, press-wise, take the few minutes to go over it. It’s your name, so don’t trust releases you don’t read.

    Sometimes voting for something that is going to pass anyway, and doesn’t hurt your District, is a really good move.

    Finally,

    If you do your best, your word is good, and you disagree without being disagreeable, you will “be fine.”

    Good Luck.


  26. - Commonsense in Illinois - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:43 pm:

    Duck


  27. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:43 pm:

    Never, ever, ever, ever, EVER take the money.


  28. - wordslinger - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:44 pm:

    If you’re ever asked a question by the FBI, presume they already know the truthful answer. Either tell the truth, or say nothing.


  29. - Lil Squeezy - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:44 pm:

    If you don’t want people talking about your personal life, leave your personal life at home. Adults gossip like teenagers in Springfield.


  30. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:46 pm:

    If you receive a note while on the House floor from a pretty girl in the gallery, DO NOT GO TO THE GALLERY. It’s an old trick. You will regret it.


  31. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:46 pm:

    “Hugs” are real big in the Capitol.


  32. - The Captain - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:48 pm:

    Be good at softball.


  33. - Joe Bidenopoulous - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:50 pm:

    =Adults gossip like teenagers in Springfield=

    And many of them act like teenagers as well, so beware the various frat houses, flop houses and the Lincoln Tower elevators (unless you live there)


  34. - Joe Bidenopoulous - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:50 pm:

    If it sounds too good to be true…


  35. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:50 pm:

    Be very, very, very careful who you decide to bad-mouth, in pubic or private. Guess what, they ARE going to find out.


  36. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:50 pm:

    Don’t bring food onto the House floor. Mapes can be a monster.


  37. - Joe Bidenopoulous - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:51 pm:

    ==If you receive a note while on the House floor from a pretty girl in the gallery, DO NOT GO TO THE GALLERY. It’s an old trick. You will regret it.==

    C’mon Rich, you gotta let staff have some fun…


  38. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:53 pm:

    The “Century Club” might sound prestigious, but it ain’t. Trust me.


  39. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:53 pm:

    I-55 is an Interstate, not a Race Way, no matter what “Plates” you have.


  40. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:54 pm:

    ===Be very, very, very careful who you decide to bad-mouth, in pubic or private. Guess what, they ARE going to find out. ===

    That’s something I always tell my interns. You never really know who you’re talking to. The person might be a good friend of the person you’re bad-mouthing.


  41. - Joe Bidenopoulous - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:54 pm:

    You’ll get re-elected (or not) for what you do in your district, not the votes you take.

    Many have said it - staff will save your rear time and again, be your fall guy, and they work tirelessly for little pay and less recognition. No, they don’t put their name on the ballot, but what they do cannot be replicated by you and you should be EXTREMELY appreciative, even if you don’t agree with recommendations/advice.


  42. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:55 pm:

    If you decide to play the “Do you know who I am,” Card, realize you are about 45 seconds from being “Nobody.”


  43. - Skeeter - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:55 pm:

    Saying crazy stuff gets you media coverage.

    If you get media coverage, people talk about you for higher office.


  44. - one of the 35 - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:55 pm:

    Always remember that it is not YOUR money; it is the TAXPAYER’S money you are spending!


  45. - langhorne - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:55 pm:

    w constituents, promise your best effort, not a particular result (many constituents lie).

    you can respond to almost any constituent position w “you may be right”.

    raise the insurance limits on your car.

    “your word is your bond”, so dont give your word lightly. if you are bought, stay bought :-) meaning, if you traded your vote cheap and the price goes up, too bad, keep your word.

    plan your reception attendance starting from the greatest distance from home and work your way in. if you have too many to attend, have a reception buddy pick up your name tag. the host might think you were there.

    you cant, and shouldnt, eat every egg roll.

    treat all staff w respect. ask for their candid opinion if the issue is important to you.

    rich–cap fax usually got one good plug each conference.


  46. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:56 pm:

    Read the Illinois Constitution as often as possible. Read your chamber’s rules until you understand them. Understand your own bills before you present them.


  47. - Joe Bidenopoulous - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:56 pm:

    If a lobbyist is asking you to support something and s/he tells you there’s no opposition, don’t commit - they wouldn’t be asking if there was unanimous agreement.


  48. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:59 pm:

    Sometimes, you just lose…

    It ain’t personal, unless you make it personal.

    Doing something the “right” way, prevents you trying to do something the “wrong” way numerous times.

    Being in the General Assembly is what you do, not who you are. Have your life outside this world.


  49. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:01 pm:

    Secure an Organizational Chart of State Government, Laminate it, and keep at hand until the major galaxies of the Bureaucratic Illinois Universe are familiar.


  50. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:01 pm:

    Get to know legislators who are outside your normal comfort zone. If you’re black, befriend some white folks. If you’re white, buddy up with an African-American and/or Latino. If you’re a liberal, have a drink with a conservative. If you’re a Republican, take a Democrat out to dinner. If you’re a Downstater, visit a colleague in Chicago. If you’re a suburbanite, go check out a Downstater’s farm. Etc.

    This is a beautifully diverse and incredibly great state. Get to know it. Your responsibilities do not begin and end at your district boundaries.


  51. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:01 pm:

    ===If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to Capitol Fax.===

    If you “don’t know” this, then you are behind.


  52. - langhorne - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:02 pm:

    when you have a bill in committee, introduce yourself to the chair and min spokesman. ask if they have any thoughts on your bill or problems. (even better to do the day before). sit up front, we dont know you yet.

    if the chair gives you a sign to wrap it up, shut up. stuff a sock in your witness if need be.


  53. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:04 pm:

    Politicians are human beings, so politics is a lot about personal relationships. Be considerate. Be nice. Get things done. The sour types never accomplish anything.


  54. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:06 pm:

    Pick up a check when out with Colleagues…Less than you think, but more than should.


  55. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:06 pm:

    I don’t wanna get in trouble here guys, but do Willy/Rich have a typo at 12:50/12:54?


  56. - The Captain - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:07 pm:

    When a reporter asks you about a bill and you talk about process you’ve gone native.


  57. - Red Ranger - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:07 pm:

    Great advice on staff! If you want to work with them, wonderful, it will to your benefit; if you don’t and you would rather just work with lobbyists that’s fine too. But if you treat staff like garbage, and then need something from them, don’t be surprised if he or she doesn’t bend over backwards for you. Also, you don’t have to wait until someone has been on staff for 20 years before you bother to know their name or acknowledge their existence, because in a couple of years, when they are a lobbyist with campaign cash and expense accounts, acting like you’re long lost pals is really lame.


  58. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:07 pm:

    langhorne is absolutely right. But I’d go a step further and say you should line up your votes well before the committee even meets. If you’re testifying to pass a bill, you either have a very tough bill or you didn’t do your legwork.


  59. - Give Me A Break - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:08 pm:

    Get to know the Legislative Liaisons from the state agencies.


  60. - walkinfool - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:08 pm:

    Be among the first in your office in the morning, and ask those who are also there how to get the most done.

    Don’t text and drive, no-matter what.


  61. - MrJM - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:09 pm:

    Call a cab.

    – MrJM


  62. - NIref - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:11 pm:

    Read:
    -Home Style by Richard Fenno
    -Cap Fax every day.

    Get to know the capitol staff. The guards, doormen, janitors, cafeteria. A heart-felt thank you goes a long way.

    Stop using the word “legislation.” There are bills, rules, public acts, laws, statutes, resolutions, constitutional amendments.


  63. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:11 pm:

    If you can take the train to Springfield, do so. You can work easier than in a car and there are lots of Statehouse types to chat with. It’s so much more enjoyable than driving.


  64. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:13 pm:

    ===I don’t wanna get in trouble here guys, but do Willy/Rich have a typo at 12:50/12:54?===

    If I am reading YOUR statement right …

    No one reads what I post… I think …

    To the Post:

    They are called Legislative Liasons for a reason, utilize their expertise.

    Know your counterpart Senator, and Senators, know your 2 Reps. At some point, you all might need each other.


  65. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:14 pm:

    Take a tour of the Capitol building. Get to know its history. It’s such an honor to work there. Learn what’s around you and why.


  66. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:15 pm:

    ===Get to know the capitol staff. The guards, doormen, janitors, cafeteria. A heart-felt thank you goes a long way.===

    Y.E.S. !!!!


  67. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:15 pm:

    Always assume the person you are talking to is wired. So much easier that way.


  68. - langhorne - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:15 pm:

    when a freshman would ask what they needed to know, i always said: your chamber rules; LRU’s illinois constitution annotated, which explains it in lay terms; and the tax handbook. if you know whats in those three things, you are automatically in the top ranks.


  69. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:16 pm:

    If going to a 3 o’clock bar ever sounds like a great idea, call a cab and go home immediately.


  70. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:18 pm:

    Secretaries rule the world. Once you accept that fact of life your own life will be much more pleasant.


  71. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:18 pm:

    If constituents stop by the Statehouse on a session day, you are never too busy to stop what you are doing, shake hands and say hello. Maybe even shoot a quick foto and mail
    it back to their home with a brief note.


  72. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:18 pm:

    Get to know your “classmates”, you are all going through this together, and you won’t feel as alone.

    ===Call a cab.===

    Yes, and always have Money for a Cab, don’t have an excuse for not being smart.


  73. - langhorne - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:18 pm:

    zeke used to tell freshmen, for effect, that if you are being interviewed by the FBI, always have a lawyer present. his point was that you should NOT have to be talking to the FBI. and you dont want to get your friends in trouble by saying the wrong thing.


  74. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:20 pm:

    Call your constituents and ask for advice on legislation. They may not always be right, but they’ll love it and you will most likely learn something.


  75. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:22 pm:

    langhorne is an oldtimer. Zeke was the greatest. On that note…

    When things get crazy on the House or Senate floor and you feel frustrated or lost, try to remember what Zeke Giorgi used to say in those moments: “Best show in Illinois.” Sometimes, it helps to detach.


  76. - Rayne of Terror - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:22 pm:

    Read the bills you are sponsoring.


  77. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:23 pm:

    Walk precincts when you are NOT campaigning. Not all of them, not even all the time, but once a month for an hour or so. Seeing their state Rep or State senator when it is NOT campaign season goes a LONG way.


  78. - The Captain - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:23 pm:

    Find out who lives with a pool and make friends with them in February. Overtime session is a regular occurrence.


  79. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:24 pm:

    Private clubs ain’t private.


  80. - OneMan - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:24 pm:

    And if you take the train it goes faster for like what a mile or two…

    Seriously…

    Return calls and be responsive to the folks back home, especally the folks from the other party. Not just saying this because my new rep is from the other party.

    Never even put up a yard sign for folks running against my old rep after she won the first time because she knew how to work with and for everyone in town. Same reason we had/have finding anyone who would have a chance in heck of beating her of ever running against her.

    Heck look at Luazen, I know lots of folks here wonder how he ever got re-elected over and over again. Well if you called his office, he called you back right away and at least created the impression he was interested in your issues and concerns. For a decent number of folks in town he was the only Republican vote they would cast.

    Also reguardless of local party infighting, go to the local party meetings once in a while. Committeemen like to think you are interested in what they say and are interested in what you have to say.

    Don’t be a jerk.


  81. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:25 pm:

    When schools or classes from your District are in Springfield, know it! Being their Springfield Ambassador, even for 5 minutes goes a long way too.


  82. - Left Leaner - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:30 pm:

    Identify your principles and use them to inform all of your decisions. Stick to them! Be ready to fudge a little on the rest.


  83. - girlawyer - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:30 pm:

    Proofread everything. Be especially careful about certain words like “public”. It needs an “l”.


  84. - walkinfool - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:31 pm:

    Some lobbyists are among the best, most knowledgeable people in Springfield. Just keep in mind who’s paying them.

    Ask lobbyists the best arguments against their bills. The good ones will be fair.

    If a lobbyist appears lacking in full disclosure, tell him so, but let him have that one strike. If clearly dishonest, he’s out.


  85. - wordslinger - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:36 pm:

    Don’t say anything you wouldn’t want to see on the front page or the six o’clock news.

    Always talk to reporters, even if you think it’s bad news. They’re going with the story anyway and you might has well get your two cents in.


  86. - Irish - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:36 pm:

    Rich, There is hope for the GA and state government.

    It shall be mandatory that all freshmen members attend Rich Miller’s class on how to be a proper GA member. AND follow his instructions. After several election cycles there might be enough good GA members that the rest of the hangers on will either be shamed into following suit or they will leave, voluntarilly or not.


  87. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:36 pm:

    It is a privilege to be a Member of the General Assembly. The best legislators will remind you of that.


  88. - Norseman - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:38 pm:

    - Try to specialize in one or two areas. Your expertise will recognized by leadership and your colleagues.

    - Choose a veteran colleague based upon their work ethic, not their verbosity.

    - At the beginning, keep in mind the old saw, “(b)etter to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” Learn floor debating skills from the veterans before attempting them.

    - Show respect to your constituents, colleagues, staff, lobbyists, agency staff and especially the media.

    - Control your ego, it will grow but try to keep it to just one or two hat sizes.

    - While it will be difficult, try not to take opposition to your initiatives personally. Today’s opponents may be tomorrow’s allies.

    - Remember the media are always looking for stories involving crisis, controversy and conflict. Keep your message on target. Never lie to a reporter.

    - Your effectiveness is dependent upon your credibility. As others have said, you’re word is your bond.

    - Educate your personal staff on expectations in dealing with constituents and lobbyists. [For example, lobbyists have been known to ask staff to submit bills/amendments in the name of their solon. Sometimes these bills haven’t been discussed with the solon. You need to let staff know whether this is ok or not. Another example is to advise them on when to let other people access you. Some lobbyist - usually the most obnoxious who claim your best buds - will try to get your private phone numbers or interrupt your meetings.] Support them from outside criticism, privately counsel them when expectations aren’t met.


  89. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:39 pm:

    It is an honor to be a Member of the General Assembly. Treat your time representing your constituents with the dignity the office requires …

    Sorry, better.


  90. - jake - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:41 pm:

    Stay in touch with your constituents. Just because they loved you last election day doesn’t mean they don’t need to be remindedconstantly that you still care. Kind of like a marriage.


  91. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:42 pm:

    If you are looking to “move up”, being the best member of the General Assembly you can be speaks more to voters than looking beyond your current job.

    “The best way to get a promotion is to do your current job best.”


  92. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:46 pm:

    If you make a mistake, don’t repeat it, learn from it, people notice.


  93. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:48 pm:

    If a lobbyist gives you a speech to read on the floor, you may be a tool. Don’t be a tool.

    Also, if caught by a reporter who happened to see the speech in advance, don’t lie and say you wrote it yourself. I’ll never forgive you.


  94. - Knome Sane - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:48 pm:

    If a lobbyist ever lies to you, keep that in the back of your mind the next time you speak with him/her. Oh, and that cuts both ways.


  95. - langhorne - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:50 pm:

    the governing boards of the service agencies are a relatively safe place to learn the innerworkings of government and policy–JCAR, COGFA, audit commission, etc.


  96. - Knome Sane - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:51 pm:

    An addendum to Rich’s comment at 12:30: Nothing good ever happens after 10:00.


  97. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:51 pm:

    Nobody is ever always right. Not the unions or businesses which funded your campaigns. Not your leaders. Not your bestest buddy on the floor. Realize that all people here have agendas and those agendas may not be in your district’s or your state’s best interest.


  98. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:52 pm:

    Keep it in your pants.


  99. - Knome Sane - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:53 pm:

    A good lobbyist will always honestly tell you what the oppostion’s position is. And they explain why their position is better.


  100. - OneMan - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:54 pm:

    == Keep it in your pants. ==

    True


  101. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:55 pm:

    Yes.

    There is a Difference.

    There is a difference between Government Work and Political Work. Do not be fooled to believe, “Everybody does ‘x’ on (equipment, letterhead, etc.).”

    They don’t.


  102. - Knome Sane - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:56 pm:

    Your caucus is a lot like your family. And if you don’t think your caucus has a black sheep, you’re it.


  103. - Hon. John Fritchey - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:57 pm:

    Rich, I have to say that the tips that you’ve personally posted here (with the possible exception of the one at 1:16p) are really spot on. I’m serious when I say that you should compile them and give them to the freshmen. If they read them, and absorb them, they’ll owe you a debt of gratitude. More importantly, they’ll make the process that much better.

    The building is losing a tremendous amount of institutional knowledge over the last few years, it’s going to be interesting to see how things unfold.


  104. - Knome Sane - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:58 pm:

    If Speaker Madigan invites you for dinner at Saputo’s, never sit in the seat facing the door on the inside. If you do, it will be your last meal with the Speaker.


  105. - TwoFeetThick - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:58 pm:

    Be quiet and listen, no one wants to hear your stump speech about how you’re going to rein in government and cut waste. You’re not. You might be a big fish back in your district, but here you’re a guppie. Focus on not getting eaten.


  106. - Chucky Jay - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 2:00 pm:

    ===Walk precincts when you are NOT campaigning. Not all of them, not even all the time, but once a month for an hour or so. Seeing their state Rep or State senator when it is NOT campaign season goes a LONG way.===

    As a campaign consultant I COMPLETELY AGREE. I’ve been telling candidates this forever!


  107. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 2:02 pm:

    Remember that you aren’t the first person to hold this seat, or represent this district. Your predecessors, going all the way back to 1818, had that honor first. Learn who some of them were, learn why they succeeded or why they failed, and show some humility. You are not 10 feet tall: you are standing on the shoulders of giants. Act like it.

    Also, the GA can be a lot like junior high at times. Don’t get caught up in it for the sake of being popular or sitting with the cool kids at lunch. You aren’t there for your colleagues, you are there for your constituents.

    Don’t cheat on your spouse. Just because you’re 100 miles away from home does not make your vow null and void. The best sign of horrible character is cheating. Character counts more than anything else in life.

    There really aren’t too many “new” issues. Do some homework and you’ll see many of the same issues in front of you have been dealt with before. Learn something about the previous efforts around these issues. There is a reason the law you want to amend was written the way it was. Find out why, if you can, before you introduce your bill, or you will certainly find out later, in many cases, to your chagrin.

    Remember, finally, that this seat isn’t yours. You hold it in trust for your constituents. You have a fiduciary duty to them and to all of the people of the state of Illinois.

    It is NOT about you.


  108. - Knome Sane - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 2:02 pm:

    It’s OK when a lobbyist replies: “I don’t know the answer to your question.”

    However, it’s not OK if they don’t get back to you with an answer in a reasonable amount of time.


  109. - Knome Sane - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 2:08 pm:

    The easiest way to understand bills is to read your legislative reseach unit’s bill analysis. Compare what they have written about the bill against what the bill actually says it does.


  110. - Knome Sane - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 2:09 pm:

    Be better at WORKING politics than at PLAYING politics. Believe me, there is a difference.


  111. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 2:10 pm:

    Have your District Office in the Weakest Part of your District. having your Office in your Best part doesn’t help with visability in your Worst part.


  112. - Knome Sane - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 2:10 pm:

    Be original and never steal another legislator’s idea for your own.


  113. - one of the 35 - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 2:12 pm:

    The laws you make should apply to you and the GA as well as to the general public!


  114. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 2:13 pm:

    Mend fences back in the district if there are some to be mended. You would like to NOT have to go through a Primary if you can help yourself now.


  115. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 2:15 pm:

    Twitter and Facebook are forever.


  116. - Norseman - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 2:21 pm:

    As expected, Rich’s posts are excellent, but most of the others are very good as well. Obviously, there are a lot of current or former staffers, lobbyists, solons or agency types contributing. LRU should get Rich’s permmission to print this post for the newbies.


  117. - Norseman - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 2:24 pm:

    Willy, I would like to amend your post about Twitter and Facebook by advising that you don’t need to post your minute by minute activities such as we have been seeing with one of our executive branch elected officials.


  118. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 2:28 pm:

    - Norseman -,

    I know I don’t know too much, Amend Away!

    I think Pongee would agree with YOU.


  119. - Dave Dahl - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 3:09 pm:

    - The truth is the easiest thing to remember.

    - If you cooperate with reporters, there’s a better chance the stories will be accurate. Nobody is served when the stories are not accurate.

    - We will not make you look bad. YOU will make you look bad.


  120. - Ann - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 3:25 pm:

    Even Oswego Willy is serious in this thread, which I was sure was going to be 90% snark. Fritchey is right. You really should find a way to assemble these and pass them out.


  121. - Pot calling kettle - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 3:26 pm:

    Learn what an “agreed bill” is. Make an effort to obtain that status for difficult bills.


  122. - Tommydanger - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 3:32 pm:

    There is only one chance to make a first impression-don’t squander the opportunity. Be thoughtful, willing to listen, do your homework and do your best to avoid being on tv your first month. If you are on tv that soon, chances are you said something memorable and the odds of that being memorably bad are quite high.


  123. - Dirty Red - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 3:36 pm:

    If someone introduces themselves as Sam Cahnman or Mike Noland, head in the opposite direction.


  124. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 3:38 pm:

    ===Even Oswego Willy is serious in this thread,…===

    (Dunno how to take that…)

    Have ate least ONE night of Office Hours in the District Office and actually be there. No constituent likes coming to Evening Office Hours and the Elected Official isn’t even there.


  125. - RNUG - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 3:39 pm:

    As a constitutant, I won’t get mad at you if you vote what is in your district’s best interest or if you vote your conscience on an issue that is a tough call … sometimes the right thing is not what everyone wants.

    Be as liberal as you want on most things, but always be a fiscal conservative. We usually forget the other votes if you don’t get too deep in our pockets.

    If you can’t keep a campaign promise or you changed your mind for a good reason, be up front and honest about it.


  126. - observation - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 3:49 pm:

    At the end of the day, your character is all you have. Don’t make the mistake of ruining it.


  127. - RNUG - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 3:52 pm:

    Sometimes all you have is bad choices; try to vote for the less harmful.


  128. - observation - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 3:53 pm:

    If you discover that you have been too hard on staff or were perceived to be too demanding, a sincere apology always works. If it was a serious gaff, a nice hand-written note to the staffer will also help.


  129. - Just Me - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 3:58 pm:

    Nobody ever lost their re-election because of their voting record. Nobody. They lost it because they lost communication with their district.


  130. - Just Me - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 4:02 pm:

    The staffs will save you from yourself on multiple occasions. Treat then well and they will work even harder to help you. At the end of session, say thanks an contribute to the after-session staff “thank you” party.

    Staff make next to nothing and will still be at the Capitol working on your bill long after you have left for dinner.


  131. - RNUG - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 4:37 pm:

    If you can’t take their campaign contributions and vote against them when it’s the right thing to do, you’re in the wrong job.


  132. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 4:42 pm:

    - Chucky Jay -,

    Maybe some will listen this time.


  133. - RNUG - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 4:52 pm:

    Chucky Jay and Oswego Willy,

    I would add:

    Expect to be approached by your district members when you are back home and just out in public. Even if you are extremely busy and on a deadline, make the time to listen a bit. If you just can’t, say so, set up an appointment for later, and follow though.

    Same rule applies to reporters.


  134. - Old timer - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 5:55 pm:

    State employees are not the bad guy or to be used as a punching bag


  135. - mythoughtis - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 9:43 pm:

    You come to the capital part-time. Try to remember that what annoys you also annoys the employees who are in the complex every day. If we can’t have whatever it is, then don’t demand it for yourself. Whether that’s expensive furniture, fancy bathrooms, an open tunnel to walk thru, or a decent cafeteria.


  136. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 9:54 pm:

    Great point, - RNUG -


  137. - 1776 - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 10:29 pm:

    Keep your commitments. If you tell an advocate that you plan to support a bill, don’t go and vote the opposite way unless you let them know first. They will understand is you have changed your position but let them know up front.

    Be honest. We’re all professionals and know that we won’t agree 100 percent of the time.

    Don’t say bad things about the Speaker’s daughter.


  138. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 11:14 pm:

    === Staff is important. Staff members should always be treated with respect because they work so hard and know so much. But you don’t work for them. ===

    Corollary: Don’t blame your bad vote on staff. Or a lobbyist. Or your Leader. At the end of the day, it’s your vote. Own it.


  139. - Oneman - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 11:51 pm:

    Remember at the end of the day, the vast majority of those who didn’t vote for you want you to be successful and every day there are people literally praying for your success.


  140. - wordslinger - Friday, Nov 30, 12 @ 6:35 am:

    –Be as liberal as you want on most things, but always be a fiscal conservative. We usually forget the other votes if you don’t get too deep in our pockets.–

    That’s a joke, right?

    If you look in a dictionary, there are definitions for the words “liberal,” “fiscal,” and “conservative.” And many more.

    It’s Webster’s Dictionary, not Rupert’s.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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