I am typing at top speed with a deadline looming, and I’m sure to be late (sorry, Pete). The workday ran long. My day job’s current assignment has me watching state legislative action, and today kicked off the 2018 season.

The State House hallways were full of citizens sporting buttons and scarves emblazoned with symbols of this or that bill, thumbs up or thumbs down. An impromptu press conference about a particular bill temporarily blocked access to one hall. Twitter was ablaze with coordinated targeted messages on various measures. Typical stuff, on a day with lots of bills up for votes.

It made for great press, and it all served the long-term goal of influencing public opinion. What it didn’t do, as far as I could tell, was swing a single vote on the most controversial bills.

That work had been done earlier, in one-on-one conversations with those representatives who were cheerfully trying to work their way through the crowd to their seats. This is how things are done close to home.

Conversations without cameras, with no social media posts at stake, one neighbor to another. As occupied with politics as I am, I can’t afford to forget how important those conversations are.

Why be concerned with how things are done on the local or state level? Isn’t that little league stuff? Not to me.

For one thing, these state legislators make up the bench from which parties draw candidates for bigger if not better offices. The more one-on-one conversations a legislator has, the greater the legislator’s sense of accountability to the people who’ve been talking with him. Professional lobbyists know all about that. Smart voters know it, too.

For another, we need the practice. I know I do. I tend to resort to social media even for messages to state representatives. That’s not the most effective way for me to do my job as a constituent. For that, I need face-to-face conversation, or even a brief phone call (remember those?), with the people who claim to represent me at the State House.

When a family has a story about how a bill would affect them, they use media appearances to share that story. That helps shape the environment within which a vote will be cast. If they really want to lock down a particular vote, though, they’ll have a private conversations with a legislator, without cameras or mics in the room.

For the two bills with which I was most concerned today, people on all sides worked relentlessly on such old-fashioned communication, as well as on social media, right up to the minute the votes were cast. The same-day work was important.

And yet it wasn’t as important as the low-key conversations that started back when the bills were introduced (and even earlier). Today’s votes reflected relationships built long ago. Those relationships started with conversations.

It may sound odd for a keyboard warrior to admit, but I’m glad conversation still counts.

Ellen Kolb writes about the life issues and New Hampshire politics at ellenkolb.com and leavenfortheloaf.com. You can support Da Tech Guy’s Magnificent Writers by hitting Da Tip Jar. Thank you!

Just a reminder to all those still defending the president as a great leader:

Before Barack Obama ran for president the Democrat Party had 49 seats in the Senate and two independents who caucused with them giving them control.

After four elections where Barack Obama was either on the ballot or President of the United States Democrats have 44 seats with two independents who caucus with them to make 46 .

Before Barack Obama ran for president the Democrat Party had 233 seats in the House of Representatives and control of the House.

After four elections where Barack Obama was either on the ballot or President of the United States Democrats have 188 seats with three seats still to be decided.

That means that since Barack Obama ran for president the number of Democrats in the senate has dropped by 8.97% and the number of Democrats in the House has dropped by 8%

Barack Obama promised to fundamentally transform America, whatever else he might have done, he certainly transformed the congress.



Last Sunday my wife made our weekly grocery trip to Market Basket. She was greeted with some very empty shelves. It is kind of a shame we like Market Basket and their prices, when they have products on the shelf.

We turned on the news, looked at Facebook and tried to find out what was happening. Turns out the now infamous internal company dispute resulted in a workers strike that rendered the stores very empty very quickly. This also turned into a problem for other local stores that hadn’t planned for the increased business.

So, render me even more surprised when I saw a press release today from Congresswoman Niki Tsongas. Basically she asked the board of directors asking them to reconsider their change in company leadership.

The link to the official press release can be found here: NIKI TSONGAS ENTERS MARKET BASKET DEBATE.

I wondered why a Congressperson would enter the fray. Why jump into a local business thing instead of…ohhh…I don’t know issues along the border, Israel, Christians being slaughtered in Iran, etc.

Then I thought about that old money and politics question. Ten seconds on Google later and I find an article about someone who donated the maximum allowed by law to one of the Congresswoman’s campaigns.

That link can be found here: DONATION TO TSONGAS

Interestingly if you look at the last name you will see a match…Demoulas. I also looked at a few other campaigns. Funny thing about the Federal Election Commission. They run a kind of challenging to search, but highly detailed website. It shows other hits with Demoulas.

Is the Congresswoman really interested in a local privately owned company, or is this payback to a supporter? Seems kind of like a coincidence that should be followed up on. When I called her office and asked the question I didn’t get a straight answer other than she cares about her constituents. I hope she does, I am one…But this one looks just a little too close to home for it to not be payback to a high value donor.

The only thing that surprises me is that her only action appears to be a letter. I would have assumed a meeting would take place on something like this.