The State Capitol is a place that is as unique as the characters that run up and down its halls every day. In what other workplace can you watch an impassioned floor debate in the morning, be invited to a state representative's office for homemade pork guisantes at lunch, and watch the "Lost" crew shoot a scene in your building's basement in the afternoon?
My experience working in the two-person House communications "office" over the last year has been both enjoyable and extremely valuable. If you think about it, this is not an easy job. For one thing, you have several dozen "clients" to represent, and they're a pretty diverse bunch. During the legislative session, a zillion things are happening each day and it's difficult to know what's going to go off next. It's also not rare for us to be in the spotlight over here – which is just as awesome as it is nerve-wracking.
The public perceptions of and misconceptions about this body might be what make this job most difficult. Before I started working at the legislature last December, it was very easy for me to buy into negative images of Hawaii politics and the people who work in state government. Actually being in the midst of it over the last year has taught me a great deal about the legislature and the political system and has deepened my appreciation for the biggest issues facing Hawaii today. I'm by no means an expert, but this experience enabled me to meet people and to be involved in the process instead of simply observing and drawing conclusions while standing on the outside.
The Hawaii House Blog has been one of the most interesting projects I worked on. I'm thrilled at how this blog has taken shape, especially in recent weeks. I envisioned this site to be a place where we could create more interest in the legislature and put forward a different face than we usually do, that is, through traditional news releases or press conferences. The Special Session gave us an opportunity to try blogging from the front lines, and I hope we'll continue to receive encouragement and feedback from visitors throughout the 2008 session.
Blogs and other online media are truly changing the nature of communication, particularly between players in government and politics, and I believe they'll also change the functions of this communications office. From what I've seen in the last year, I am confident that the people in this building will be more than up to the challenge.