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Civility still greases the wheels

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Lawmakers soldier on despite occasional blowups

By Sherry Robinson

Here’s a word legislative Democrats and Republicans use for each other quite often, one you won’t see often in the press: collegial.
You might think a legislative session is only one step above Jello wrestling, but you’d be wrong. The language is civil, even courtly: “Gentle lady from Chavez… Gentleman from Cibola…”
Bringing their collective experiences and loyalties to the process, lawmakers understand that they will disagree, and they do it respectfully, for the most part. As hearings stretch into the wee hours, and floor agendas grow longer, there is the occasional blowup, but they soldier on. Everyone is heard.
With all the party-line votes, I had wondered if legislators think for themselves any more. They do. The parties seem to marshal their votes for certain issues, but otherwise individuals vote their conscience and their constituencies. We’ve seen some dramatic crossovers, some shows of independence. And collegiality.


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