I can’t think of many people that play an important role in my life that I haven’t sat down and shared coffee with. From my financial advisor to my manuscript coach to my pastor and campaign manager… the relationships started with a relaxed conversation over a cup of something hot. And while the nuts and bolts of portfolio performance, former clients, education and experience were on the table, we spent more time talking about our vacations and the funny things our kids do.
As a journalist, I’ve done dozens of interviews for news stories and essays and I can report that you can learn a lot about someone in a couple of hours. While listening to others tell their stories, I concentrate on scratching down dates, facts, and notable quotes, but at the same time I am getting a sense of her or his overall spirit. Adding withdrawn body language accompanied by sporadic nervous laughter or over-the-top volume with finger pointing are the types of details that put the reader in the reporter’s chair and makes the story come alive.
Whether or not you’ve thought about it like this before, your representatives in state government play an important role in your daily life. They make decisions that puts money into our children’s schools—or takes it away. They choose protections for victims of crime. They effect our options in health care and commuting and determine baselines for taxes and wages. State legislators do vital work in Iowa.
How can citizens develop trust in their representatives? When can they meet them to inform them of what issues in the community are important and need attention and action? Before I ask for your vote of confidence I expect to be available in order to earn it. Each month, beginning in September, I’ve dedicated time at Luke’s Coffee Hub in Grimes and Rich’s Brew in Johnston (with an Urbandale location to be announced soon). See this year’s schedule here.
So, pull up a chair. Tell me about your neighborhood, your growing up and I’ll share with you mine. Tell me things you want to get better and I’ll brainstorm with you ways our state government can make that happen. Community starts with conversation. Will you join me?
Coffee sign photo by Phil Roeder, used under a creative commons license (CC BY 2.0).