• 86°

Calendar fills with events

Summertime is convention time.

No doubt this is true throughout the 50 states, but particularly do I know this to be so in Alabama.

So far Summer is only a month old, and I have been invited to six conventions and I have in participated in four.

In reviewing my calendar today, I find that I have already been invited to eleven additional conventions before the start of the Fall and I have accepted six of those.

This may at first thought sound like a lot of fun, but to many public officeholders – and this includes me – I had much rather be spending quiet time with my family.

So why do I attend?

There are 186 groups of Alabama citizens who have statewide organizations that present issues to the Alabama Legislature.

All of these conventions to which I have been invited are among these groups.

Usually those who attend these respective group assemblies are the leaders of the various organizations.

They set policy, they formulate agendas, and generally they are the liaison between the organization and the members of the Legislature.

The annual convention of any of these groups offers the best opportunity for a State Senator to interact with many leaders at one time, to become informed of the attitudes and agendas of these respective organizations, and often times to establish long lasting friendships.

To a State Senator such as myself who represents six different counties, it is much easier to meet and greet 30 county commissioners at one site rather than spending several days making individual trips to each of the six counties.

Often times I am asked to be on the program at these conventions.

This is especially true if it is an organization whose membership clearly shares my views on public issues and for whom I have sponsored their bills in the Legislature.

Several years ago I did a lot of legislative workshops which generally addressed internal legislative procedures and the &uot;do’s and don'ts&uot; of working with your legislative delegation.

This is a class which I teach at Jones School of Law to new law students.

I think it is most important to be able to work effectively with your legislator since most public policy comes through the state Legislature.

I find most groups to be gracious hosts and, depending on the site of the convention you can sometimes get a great meal.

I love a good ole seafood platter, especially if its fresh from the Gulf.

I am very diligent to attend all the meetings at these conventions and more times than not the information you get is highly useful and helps me better perform the duties of my public office.

I guess I’d better go and put gas in the car for the next trip, and until next time, remember &uot;I’ll go with you or I’ll go for you&uot; to help you solve any problem related to state government.

Senator Wendell Mitchell can

be reached at 334-242-7883, or by writing

to P.O. Box 225, Luverne, AL 36049.