News From The Legislature
Senator Laura Ebke, LD 32
The 104th Legislature convened on January 7, and included 18 freshman members, including myself. The historians of the Unicameral say that is the second largest class in history, following only the class that entered 8 years ago, which we were largely replacing.
As I’ve walked into the Capitol each day since then, I continue to be humbled by the honor that the people of the 32nd legislative district have done me, by allowing me to serve you for the next four years. Future letters will talk more about legislation that has been introduced, but in this first note, I’d like to tell you about my office, and how we hope to continue to communicate with, and serve, you.
Each legislative office is staffed by a two paid staffers–the Legislative Aide and the Administrative Aide. Some offices also have unpaid interns who come in and learn “on the job” for a few hours a week.
In my office, Brandon Benson serves as my Legislative Aide. He has worked in the Legislature for several years in the offices of 3 other senators. I am extraordinarily lucky to have him, and if you call the office asking about legislation, especially, you may end up talking to him if I’m not around. Rest assured that Brandon knows what I’m thinking, and probably has had a chance to learn more about many issues than I have.
My Administrative Aide is Hadassah (Haddy) Moore. Haddy was a key volunteer on my campaign, and helped to keep things organized there. That’s largely her job in my office. If she’s there, she’s likely to be the person most people will talk to on the phone first. She’ll also be doing most of the management of my calendar. And if you want to come to the Capitol with a group (schools, organizations, etc.) and need a place to meet, she’s the one who will be able to help you.
I have come to appreciate in the last 2 weeks just how important the staff is to the office. Brandon and Haddy will help you whenever they can, they’ll know how to get through to me if I’m not in the office, and they can help handle many of the routine constituent service issues. As a general rule, you can count on one or both of my staff to be in the office between 8 and 5–with the exception, perhaps, of an occasional lunch away with the “boss.”
We are in a shared office suite, so if you stop by our office (Room 1101 on the west side of the Capitol), you will see several other people in the office as well. Office space was chosen by luck of the draw for freshmen, and while everyone probably wanted a single office, we were exceptionally lucky to draw Sen. Groene and his staff for our suitemates. The senators both have private offices, but there is sort of a common front area for the staff. The six of us (4 staff, two senators) all get along well on many levels.
Monday, February 16, is a “recess day” (Presidents Day), so since the Legislature won’t be in session, we will be hosting the first of what I hope will be a number of coffees throughout the district during the session (some will probably have to be on Saturdays). The first one will be in Fairbury, at Sweet Creations (1011 K Street–the old college dormitory basement) beginning at 9, and continuing as long as people are interested. We’ll buy the drinks and rolls. Join me for conversation about my first month in the legislature, bills that you’re interested, or whatever you’d like to chat about. I have no agenda, but want to talk face-to-face with as many of you as possible.