"Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.
Alexander Hamilton

Monday, April 25, 2016

“It’s a very serious problem. We just have some members who signed up for a job they are not willing to do.” NH House Speaker Shawn Jasper

The Sunday Monitor had this article in it's Capital Beat section about numerous house committees where some members do not show up for meetings, some of whom have not come to a meeting this year. As the story indicates, there are some valid reasons for absences, such as work commitments and health issues. For a job that pays $100 a year, not many are in a position to be take on this responsibility. Unless you are retired, wealthy enough to not have to work or have a work situation that allows a lot of flexibility, you probably are not going to make a lot of meetings.
It's hard to be critical of those that miss the occasional meeting, but if you sign up for this and win election, you should have a plan to make sure you have the time and means to properly represent your constituents.
That aside, New Hampshire’s legislature of 400 members of the state House and 24 state senators, is made up of  the oldest average age in the nation, at 66. In many ways, they do not demographically or economically, represent the citizens of their communities. How do we fix that?  I applaud the few young members of the legislature who can make the sacrifice to work, fulfill family obligations and also represent their district. They are the exception though.
Come June of this year, candidates for state office can sign up to run for the primary in September, and if they win, the general election in November. That is a lot of time to ponder whether you have the time and means to fulfill the obligations that come with being elected. With the largest legislature in the USA, I doubt that voters will ever approve paying them a living wage so that it can be viable for younger working men and women to run for office. I guess the question to ask then is whether we are truly represented by those we send to Concord. I don't know and that is not a reflection on  our representatives. They are volunteers and deserve our gratitude. We just have to trust that our  interests are properly represented across all age groups and economic status.


Likes Bernie .. said...

So, when do you sign up?

Too much legislation said...

More tin hatters,needed.

"New Hampshire state Rep. Travis Bennett, 23, a senior at Plymouth State University, is one of the few millennials among New Hampshire’s legislators, who are the oldest in the country, with an average age of 66."

Who else wants to do it.