It's after 5 and the work is done. The building is quiet; most legislators are on their way home. Most days, 5 to 7 o’clock is the best time for me to catch up on emails, phone calls, letters and — now — blogging.
I have avoided blogging prior to this for several reasons. Things like fear of commitment, being “too busy” or just the thought that “who reads these things anyway?” (I do, sometimes.) Then there’s the un-civil nature of some of the discourse we often see in the comment threads. Anonymity seems to bring out the worst in people. But the editors here at the Statesman have convinced me that people ARE interested in what legislators have to say. I hope to make it worthwhile to readers, and I’m interested in feedback on where you want us to take this.
I plan to mix it up with some days focused on policy and some on politics, with random observations on the more day-to-day human side thrown in.
Sitting here in my quiet office feels like quite the opposite of the current buzz about the cramped and crowded Capitol Annex. The Annex. That’s the name we’re calling the old Ada County Courthouse. I’m glad it still stands, and in its refurbished state it seems assured that this historic building won’t be squandered as I once feared. But these temporary quarters do bring up some interesting questions of protocol that Republican leadership came to discuss with us minority leaders recently.
Some protocol trivia: In the Capitol building — the Statehouse — we senators refer to the House of Representatives as the “body across the rotunda.” The rotunda being the open, round, central part of the Capitol building. There is no rotunda in the annex, but it was decided that the language would remain.
Consistency won out as well in how we refer to the Governor. During legislative debate one never refers to “the Governor”; the traditional term is “the gentleman on the second floor.” That made sense in the Capitol building, where the Governor’s office resides on the second floor and where the Governor by tradition may only visit the third (legislative) floor by invitation and while escorted by a legislator.
But Gov. Otter’s office is now located in the Borah Building. So it was decided that along with “the gentleman on the second floor” it would also be acceptable to refer to “the gentleman in the Borah Building.” By acclimation, we all agreed never to use “the gentleman in the Post Office.”
With that important business done, the adjustment to these new quarters continues.
Sen. David Langhorst