Dear John

images-1

Dear John,

It is no secret that I have taken a liking to you.  After all, I have written you several letters expressing my sentiments concerning the state of our nation and complimented you on the job you are doing as Speaker.  I don’t typically do that sort of thing.

However, this morning I read an article that focused on the resignation of one of your recently re-elected members, Congressman Chris Lee, from New York.  The article referenced your response not only to his poor judgement, but also your philosophy regarding the behavior of all elected officials.

Can I just state for the record again that I really like you?

You sent a message yesterday when you suggested that members of congress be held to the highest ethical standards. In fact, there have been reports in several capitol hill news outlets where you have been quoted as warning your colleagues about unseemly partying with female lobbyists, as well as stating for the record that, “I’ve had members in here where I thought they had crossed the line.”

I get that. I think all public servants could heed the warning from those words.

Have you ever been to Oklahoma?

From, a Senator’s wife in Oklahoma

Dear John

images

I’m really looking forward to hearing the SOTU address this evening.  It has always been a favorite of mine for many reasons, however, like most Americans, tonight I will be listening to the rhetoric.  It has really digressed over the last two decades reaching a level of embarrassment and certainly hindering our nation’s progress.

I know some Congressional members are sitting with their friends on the other side of the aisle to make a statement.  This is a nice gesture and we’ll see how it goes.   Next year, I would recommend you establish a seating chart by state delegation in your chamber.  Might be a fun little experiment to have all the members from Alabama sitting next to the members from Alaska sitting next to those from Arkansas and so on and so forth.  Just a thought from your friend, the Senator’s wife in Oklahoma.

Hope you are tanned, rested and ready!  It looks like you’re in for a bumpy ride.

Kid in a Candy Store

IMG_0059

So, this past week I spent a few days roaming around my old stomping grounds and feeling a little nostalgic. Weepy. Patriotic. And, tired. So, very tired! I never sleep well in that town because I feel like I will be missing something. I know, call me crazy. But, I love, love love our nation’s Capitol city.

I went out there for a finance meeting for a national board that I sit on, a wonderful organization, really. However, it coincided with the swearing-in of Oklahoma’s newest Congressman so I was able to hit the Hill running.

It has been a long time since I walked around Capitol Hill, most notably the House side. Like a few years ago when the Senator and I had the children there and toured them around the National Mall. I forced them to walk from the WWII Memorial up the Hill to the House side and then across the Capitol over to the Senate side. They refer to this trek as their own personal Bataan Death March and I still don’t get that. I suppose I got all caught up in the magnificent surroundings packed chalk full of history and lost myself. They didn’t think it was funny. Especially in the heat of the summer. My first clue should have been when they asked to stop and play in the sprinkler system in front of the Library of Congress. Nice, huh!

Anyway, I pulled the same stunt Tuesday afternoon. After the ceremonial swearing-in of my Congressman (and a photo-op in front of the Speaker’s Office) I thought it would be fun to hop over to the Senate side to reminisce for a moment. And, it was, albeit the new blisters on the back of my heels but that didn’t’ keep me from enjoying every moment of my walk. I waved to the Capitol Hill Police on every corner and smiled like a happy tourist after each photo I took. I love this country and its rich history. I love this town. I felt like a kid in a candy store, at home and completely satisfied.

SW

Dear John

images-1

Dear John,

I happened to be in Washington D.C. this week, the week you officially became 2nd in line to the Presidency. I even managed to take a picture outside of your office door. The mailman thought it was sweet and moved the flag that was blocking your name out-of-the-way. The young staffer standing right inside your office must not have appreciated my nostalgia when he abruptly shut the door. I don’t know what he was thinking, but he probably shouldn’t be your front man.

I have to tell you though, the town was full of activity. It seemed like everywhere I went there were receptions and parties celebrating the official swearing-in of your newly elected Congressional members on both sides of the aisle. I know you had encouraged them to downplay on the extravagance, but seriously, they worked hard to be there and I get it….having lived through two campaigns myself, a little celebrating should never be out of the question.

I also want to commend you for instituting the first ever reading of our Constitution on the House floor. What a novel idea and something all Americans should do more often. I hope everyone in this country pays attention. I know I will.

Good luck to you Mr. Speaker. So far, you are off to a heroic start.

Sincerely, a Senator’s wife in Oklahoma

Organization

DownloadedFile

No, I am not organizing my closets, but rather it is organizational day today at the marble palace for my Senator. I have often wondered why the legislature meets on the first Tuesday in January prior to the beginning of a new legislative session…. so I asked him. My Senator explained to me that they convene at this time to officially elect their leadership. Simple enough. Never mind that the first day of the official legislative session begins on Monday, February 7th! Roughly one month later!

On that first day when the opening bell rings, the members will report to their respective chamber for a roll call. Just like in school, except they actually get paid for showing up…to the tune of thousands of $$$$ a day in my great state. I bet you didn’t know that each member who lives more than 50 miles from the capitol also gets paid a per diem for his/her travels and lodging each way. Nice, huh.

Anyway, after roll call on the opening day, the members usually caucus briefly, then head over to the House side where the Governor gives his (in this case, her) state of the state address. Following their remarks, the members might have a committee meeting or a caucus meeting depending on what is happening (i.e. what scandal is breaking) at the time and the first day of session comes to a close.

So, back to this organizational day. Here is what typically happens. The bell rings, roll is taken, the members officially cast their votes for leadership positions (such as Speaker of the House, or President Pro Temp of the Senate), a few introductions are made and they call it a day. Costing the taxpayers roughly how much again?

Now, don’t you think it would make more sense to save those tax payer dollars by convening on the first day of the actual session to do all of that? I mean, they could call roll, caucus, elect their leaders, meet jointly to listen to the Governor and put in a full days worth. Just saying.

The only thing standing in the way of my more efficient way to spend your taxpayer dollars is the Oklahoma Constitution. Evidently, the state constitution mandates that the Legislature convene on the first Tuesday of the year in what will be a new legislative session. I am sure there is a mighty fine explanation for this somewhere. I hope there is because I think I may have provided you with a much more streamlined approach for conducting the state’s business.

Okay, stepping down off my soapbox… So, today my Senator will be casting his vote for President Pro Temp of the Senate and I will be walking the halls of the Longworth Building in Washington D.C. Our Congressman is being sworn in up there and I’ll be watching it live.

Maybe I’ll get lucky and run into my new friend, John.

We’ll see.

Dear John

images

I had wanted to write again after the interview you gave to Lesley Stahl on 60 Minutes last Sunday.  I don’t typically watch that type of tabloid journalism, but I did this time with anticipation.  It was nice seeing your story come to life on television and looks like you have quite a supportive family who are extremely proud of you and your accomplishments.  Your wife is proud of them.  What a neat lady she seems to be… and to have stayed in Ohio all these years raising your children while most of your time has been spent in Washington…well, she deserves combat pay.

There were many parts to this interview which gave a glimpse into your character. Especially the distinction you drew between compromise and common ground. While the difference between those two words seemed foreign to Lesley Stahl, your explanation was refreshing and indicative of what we can expect from your statesman-like style of leadership.

Then, there was the moment when Lesley Stahl asked your wife if you really did cry all of the time?  This, of course, after your wife had just explained how the two of you met (while you working as a janitor on the night shift) and how she was so very proud of you and your accomplishments.  Seriously, I get all the tears.  Your wife, in her graceful and loving response to that question, gets all the tears.  You get all the tears and raw emotion because you know how far you have come and understand the responsibility of being second in line to the Presidency. Clearly, Mr. Speaker (elect), you demonstrate such a sincere love of country and have passionately dedicated your life to our future. It is comforting to know that your priority is to provide for the safety and security of the American people and to help give all our children a shot at the American dream. A shot just like you had.   To watch a man in power be so passionate and sincere about those two things makes me a little teary too.

On another note, I see where the House voted to extend the Bush-era tax cuts just before midnight last night. I don’t know if the timing on that was strategic because nothing good ever seems to happen at that time, but I bet you helped them find some common ground.  Please know that Americans are watching….and waiting….and hopeful.

Merry Christmas Mr. Speaker (elect). I look forward to what the New Year will bring.

Sincerely,  a Senator’s Wife in Oklahoma