Finally, a Perk
People wonder why I run for the Representative Town Meeting. I usually quip that I serve for the fabulous salary and perks. Well, after serving for two terms, a really cool perk was handed to me yesterday.
I was invited to attend a local event headlined by Vice-Present Joe Biden, a press opportunity to promote how the Federal stimulus dollars were not only putting Connecticut workers back on the payroll, but we were addressing critical infrastructure needs by putting these men to work on maintaining our scenic Merritt Parkway.
Selected state and town Democrats were invited to attend including, it appears, the Moderator of Fairfield’s RTM. It meant confirming for the master list then arriving at 1:30. Those fortunate enough to gain access to the commuter parking lot had to get out of their cars while Secret Service and their dogs checked them out. The rest of us had to find parking nearby and as you might imagine, spots filled fast.
We all queued on a long line and took our turn showing photo ID and being handed our golden ticket. Then we were told to empty our pockets and have an agent wave the magic wand over us to make certain we were safe.
Once through security we could mill around and kill time. Even though we were told to be there at 1:30, it was for all of the above reasons but the real event wasn’t scheduled to begin, it turns out, until 3. That posed a problem since I needed to be back in town for a 3:45 appointment. One of the aides informed me it would be a mere 30 minutes long so I figured this might work out.
I worked the crowd since there was plenty of time and therefore spoke with many of my fellow Fairifelders. At one point, I was chatting with our First Selectman and the next thing I knew, I was posing for a picture with him, his aide Jen Carpenter, and Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz. I’ve attended many an event with Susan, a declared candidate for Governor next year, but never had the pleasure of saying hi before.
Finally, things stirred around 3:15 but the event really didn’t kick off until 3:35. We first heard remarks from Congressman Jim Himes, who turned the podium over to Senator Chris Dodd. He in turn introduced us to Craig Miller, project superintendent, who then gave us details about the project before introducing the Vice President. Joe Biden was loose, relaxed, and ready to chat with one and all. He cracked a number of jokes before settling into delivering his prepared remarks. I’m told he spoke for 21 minutes. I had to bolt before he finished.
While I may not have met my Senator or Vice President, it was a unique experience just being there and witnessing the spectacle of it all. You can argue the pros and cons of the stimulus funding but it’s a reality so I am pleased some of it is coming to my end of the state and being used to fix infrastructure, which is usually the first thing neglected during tight economic times. Putting people to work is always a good thing.