Being an elected official is an odd job for sure, probably one of the oddest. I’m not suggesting that elected officials are odd, although I’m sure several of us are, but it is without a doubt one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs you could have.
As a Member of the Legislative Assembly, regardless of political leanings, you wear several hats. While the legislature sits, most recently from April to June, you are dealing almost exclusively with government business. Every day you participate in Question Period, debate legislation and sit on a variety of committees. Outside of the legislature you meet with constituents to represent their needs and help guide them through what can be at times a formidable bureaucracy.
The requests from and interactions with constituents is easily the most enjoyable and interesting part of the job. Requests can range from a young woman in St. Francois Xavier looking for Manitoba pins to trade when she attends a national science fair to ensuring that businesses who floodproof their properties are compensated.
To say that no day is the same is an understatement. Nowhere else would you be travelling out to Miami, Man. to learn first-hand about the Deerwood dam sites along the South Tobacco Creek Watershed and how that may fit into a larger flood control strategy. The next day you find yourself in Springstein joining the local reeve and councillors for a community barbecue and council meeting.
For many people, smartphones have become both a blessing and a curse of their job. Years ago a rural MLA was largely inaccessible as they drove along the back gravel roads from town to town, allowing themselves a bit of time to regroup. Today, emails and calls constantly flow to the point that my kids will often say "daddy’s working" if I am on my phone during baseball practice.
One of the best parts about the job is learning more about your communities, the people in them and the activities offered. Of course having young kids helps ensure you get to participate as well. Just a few weeks ago I took my son and some of his friends to Thunder Rapids Amusement Park in Headingley for go-karting, mini-golf and batting cages. Good berry picking can be found in St. Francois Xavier through to La Salle. And of course attending the annual parades and festivals, including one of the largest — the Morris Stampede and Exhibition — is always a family favourite.
So as you and your family enjoy the summer, whether camping at one of our provincial parks, visiting local attractions or simply enjoying time together, I hope to run into you.
I welcome your comments and feedback. You can reach me at email@example.com or 204-736-3610.