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Some years ago, I was present at a Legislative Finance Committee meeting in Silver City. Legislative committees hold some meetings each year outside Santa Fe, to help make government more accessible to citizens around the state.
Attending the meeting were committee staff plus the usual suspects, state officials and lobbyists. Following committees around the state was part of their job.
They could have been back in Santa Fe for all the difference the location made. Not a soul from the local community was in attendance, until a dozen or so senior citizens walked in, chaperoned by a staff member of their retirement home.
The secretary of the Department of Finance and Administration was testifying. As is customary, he was facing the committee, had his back to the audience, and was talking in technical language about technical matters.
To these visitors, he could have been speaking Klingon. The committee chair never acknowledged the visitors either or changed procedure in any way to accommodate them. They sat in bewildered silence.
Various state boards and commissions also tramp around the state with their professional followers in tow. Local residents have a chance to participate, or at least watch and say howdy, but rarely do.
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