If you didn't already think that I was weird, I have confession to make: I love the process of state government. In particular, I love seeing the legislature in action.
I have a high regard for legislators. I know this is not universally shared. But, to me, these are folks who are really committed to helping their constituents and the state as a whole. They listen to one another and to lobbyists and private citizens and do their best to make judgments in the public interest. They are also interesting and thoughtful people from a wide variety of backgrounds, who truly enjoy being with other folks.
Finally, I have found legislators to be trustworthy, people who stand by their word and their promises. The coin of the realm in a legislative body is honesty. If you go back on what you have said, your effectiveness is harmed for a long, long time.
So, yesterday, I had a chance to testify on a bill concerning how to get better coordination of state programs in the area of workforce development and training. And here's where the legislative process is also so engaging and wonderful. I found myself on a panel with a representative from the SEIU, a labor union, joined together in supporting this particular bill.
This must have been a marvelous moment for the legislators, seeing us allies on this matter -- while recalling previous visits from the SEIU describing me in extremely unflattering terms because of our differences about union organizing approaches. As legislators, they understand that alliances often shift, and they know that agreement on one day on one issue does not necessarily portend more of the same on the next.
On this issue, though, we stand united. Health care employment opportunities in Massachusetts are likely to grow over the coming years, presenting a chance for a great variety of people to have satisfying jobs at good wages. If the state can provide better planning and coordination among its educational institutions and other agencies, this opportunity can be enhanced.