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Thursday, February 17, 2011

4th Frog goes to the Statehouse

Yesterday, I had the chance to participate in a mommy bloggers roundtable discussion with the lieutenant governor of Indiana, Becky Skillman. The meeting was held in the lieutenant governor's office at the Indiana Statehouse. 

I was a little unsure of the purpose for the meeting. Skillman has already announced that she is not running for governor. There was no agenda set for the meeting, though we were invited to submit questions prior to the meeting.
I arrived a bit early for the meeting, so I took a little time to wander. This is the stained glass window that hangs over the rotunda:

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The legislature was in session, so the Statehouse was buzzing. There's are viewing windows where you can watch testimony and votes taking place in the House and Senate chambers. In this picture, someone was testifying to their opposition to a bill that would allow parents to have vouchers to put their kids in private schools. I wonder if it's disheartening to testify to a half-empty room and to have a lot of the people who are in the room not even paying attention to you:
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It was pretty easy to spot the mommy bloggers who were also there for the roundtable. We were the only women in the statehouse not wearing suits. I got a little reality check when we were introducing ourselves to each other. No one said, "Oh! So YOU'RE 4th Frog! I love your blog!" But I didn't recognize too many other bloggers, either. Wonder if any of them had overestimated their own "fame" as I had?

Once we were in the lieutenant governor's office, Becky Skillman greeted us and pretty much said this would be an open forum where we could ask whatever we wanted. We introduced ourselves and our blogs again and then Becky asked if we minded if she slip into her comfortable shoes. I loved that! Her pose here reminds me of the charm school scene from "A League of Their Own" (filmed on location in southern Indiana!).

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I was fascinated by the number of mommy bloggers who were there who are family farmers. Several of them have other "day" jobs as well. I'm definitely going to be checking out those blogs. Who knows, maybe one day I'll visit one of them and do a bloggy series: 4th Frog goes to the Farm.

So what do mommy bloggers and the lieutenant governor of Indiana talk about? The economy. Cell reception and internet availability in rural areas -- there are serious safety concerns, people. It's not just about Facebook withdrawal. How Indiana could lead national sustainable farming efforts. How political bi-partisanship can disillusion voters to the point of non-participation.
But if you really want to get a group of women riled up, start talking about the food served in their children's schools. Hoo boy! That's one that could have gone on for days.

We only had an hour with the lieutenant governor. I know she was thanking her staffers that it wasn't any longer than that. But she was genuinely gracious. She admitted when she didn't know the answer to something. (Only one question about the Indianapolis's internet infrastructure's ability to handle the 2012 Super Bowl crowd stumped her.) She was gracious and, I thought, very genuine. She did, as one of my co-workers mentioned before I left for the roundtable, have perfectly coiffed hair. 

Before we dispersed, we all took a photo with Becky (I guess we're on a first name basis now, even if she does have to read my name tag) on the stairs outside her office. 

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Looking at all of us gathered there, I did have to ask myself if blogging is a Caucasian phenomenon? Surely Indiana has some mommy bloggers of color and various ethnicities out there? Perhaps we'll get to meet some of them at the next roundtable. 

And I do hope there is a next roundtable. Though I'm still not sure what the lieutenant governor's office hoped to accomplish, I had a great time and I'm glad I had the opportunity to be included.

6 comments:

Momza said...

Ohhh you are one of the cool kids...
how did you get to be invited to something like that? Inquiring minds wanna know.

RachelT said...

That is really neat! I want to know how you found out about it or were invited, too. Do tell! I LOVE the "comfortable shoes" shot. That is so real!

Eternal Lizdom said...

Ha! I thought the same thing about the lack of color in the room. I know you and I both know some women who could have been present!

It was great seeing you- and I have to laugh because I shared a very similar pic of the stained glass on my blog today!

designHER Momma said...

It was fun, and I loved meeting you. Being able to finally put a face with a name. :)

I too, hope that there is someday another roundtable.

Becky Skillman said...

I wanted to thank you for coming to the Statehouse. This is the first time I’ve done a roundtable like this, but I’m glad I did. If ever I needed a group of advisers, I certainly have a group of knowledgeable, clever and creative women to call upon.

Amy - please continue to blog about your experience as a mother. You give hope to moms who have one of the toughest jobs there this.

Becky Skillman

Leontien said...

Amy!!!

I'm just scrolling true your post and i found this one!

YOU ARE MORE than welcome to come and visit our farm!!!

I would love to show you arround and tell you about what we do all day (besides blogging and stalking people)...

www.fourleafcloverdairy.com
www.fourleafcloverdairy.blogspot.com

Thanks!
Leontien