notes of a freshman legislator

Thanksgiving Day!  My family and friends are healthy and looking forward to Joe Biden becoming our next president.  As this challenging year comes to a close, this more than enough to be thankful for.

I received my seating assignment yesterday from the Chief Clerk of the House.  While seating assignments aren’t necessarily a matter of great consequence I couldn’t be more pleased with mine – front row right, between Marvin Weatherwax, a member of the Blackfeet Tribe, and Jonathan Windy Boy, a member of the Chippewa Cree of the Rocky Boy Reservation.  If we ever are able to meet in person I greatly look forward to listening and learning from the two representatives who come from east of the divide and who will speak from a Tribal perspective as bills come before us for debate and decision.  One reason I decided to run for the Legislature was the opportunity it would give me to meet new people who I otherwise I would never get a chance to know, and to learn more about Montana from these new colleagues.  My seating assignment is just great in this regard.

Of course, the other reason a front row seat Is a gift is that I will be so close to Charles M. Russell’s fantastic mural of Lewis and Clark meeting the Shoshone in the upper Big Hole.  To look at this painting is to be transported to a cold, autumn morning in Montana where one is awestruck by the sheer beauty of mountains and valleys of our wonderful state.  I know it will remind me every day of our heritage, both by way of our environment and the many cultures the make our Montana peoples.  I’ve been in many public buildings but none really compare to the splendor of the Montana House Chamber with Russell’s masterpiece presiding over us.