The recent election cycle brought me to Olympia, in the shadow of the renovated capitol building, for a job interview.
Here's what happened - After the election, I sent congratulatory messages to Pat Sullivan and Geoff Simpson, who took the two positions for state representative from the fighting 47th Distict. Geoff wrote back to say a) thanks for the congrats, b) that he was a reader of this journal, c) that he had read my entry about the work slowdown and my reduced hours, and d) that the House Democratic Caucus was hiring for the upcoming legislative session. He gave me a name to contact, a Melinda McCrady, the Communications Director. I made a call and we set a date for Friday (yesterday) for an interview.
So I ended up going down to Olympia in the afternoon, a town which reminds me a lot of Madison, Wisconsin (seat of government, lot of young people, used bookstores, really cruddy parking situation). Ms. McCrady's office is a stone's throw away from the domed legislative building, still under repair from the Nisqually Quake a few years back. After the quake, the legislators moved into the nearby offices, and the communications staffs moved into the basement. When I entered the building and asked for the Democratic Caucus, I was told "You're standing on their roof" by the security guys (the GOP Caucus was at the other end of the basement hall).
The digs definitely had a boiler-room decor to them - low ceilings, lots of "reformatted space", but had a friendly feel to them as well (plastic swords stashed by the door, political cartoons on the wall, old democratic memorabilia in the office). People lived, worked, and played here. It also had that "university between terms" vibe - a little empty, and those there present were dressed for comfort, not panel hearings (As usual, I overdressed for the interview - at least I passed on the tie this time). Ms. McCrady herself was preparing for an upcoming legislative retreat, but we spoke for about a half-hour, and I was impressed with her openness, knowledge, and dedication. I found out a lot about the process of what they did and what they were looking for, and showed off some of my own work (a couple books, and a CD-Rom my team has been working on).
Upshot of it all - the job was not a good fit. I was looking for freelance to supplement my current situation, they were looking for someone to work on-site for the legislative session (Dec-April). But I was glad to have gone, both for the experience and as a reminder of how accessible our government truly is. As a writer, I am always telling people how thin the membrane is between fan and writer - we don't live in great towers on the hill. You want to write, you write - boom, you're in the Brotherhood. The same applies to our government. You want to be a part, you be a part. And that thought made me smile all the way back home.
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