Discover more from Dana Criswell
February 20, 2018
It's 6 am and I'm sitting in my RV getting ready for my day at the capitol. I'm often asked where I stay in Jackson during the 3 month legislative session. I stay in my RV at the state fairgrounds located just a few blocks from the capitol.
When I was running for office I honestly never thought about where I might stay during the session but once elected it all of a sudden became very important. The options available to a legislator is to simply stay in a hotel which might be the cheapest option in the long run but to make it affordable I would have to check in and out of the hotel every week. The other hotel option would be find an extended stay hotel and just stay the entire 3 month session. Neither of those options appealed to me partly because as a pilot for FedEx I have spent half of my life for the past 30 years in a hotel. I am way over living in a hotel. The other option is to rent an apartment for the entire 4 year term. Generally this option is used by politicians who have no intention of ever leaving politics, they see this as a permanent job which is defiantly not an option for me.
Through my investigation I came up with the idea of buying an RV and finding a place to park it during the session, I was researching RV parks in the area when I discovered that other legislators had been parking at the state fairgrounds. This seemed like the perfect option for me especially since the fairgrounds are only a couple of blocks from the capitol. So now I live in the parking lot behind the Mississippi Coliseum during the legislative session.
My first year the state fair commission charged each of us only $50/month just to cover the electricity used, but because of a freshman democrat legislator looking to make a name for himself the local Jackson newspaper wrote a story about how legislators were getting a “sweet deal”. Now the state fair commission charges us $250/month to live in the parking lot, which is still not very expensive.
Today the House begins taking up senate bills in committees. So far I don't have any committee meetings schedule though I'm sure I'll have some later this week. The senate didn't pass much this session, politicians are generally afraid of passing anything of any significants because they are all worried about next year because it's an election year. I've observed two categories of politicians this year. The first are those who are preparing to run often for a new “higher” position. These folks are working hard to pass anything that creates a big splash and gets them in the paper on noticed by the media. Sometimes this legislation is good but sometimes its all splash and no real substance. The second type are those who simply want to stay where they are, these folks don't want anything to happen. They just want this session to be over without anyone noticing them at all, that way they can go home and tell their people anything they want about how they voted or what happened. Either way, nothing you see from the outside is what it seems.
Welcome to the world of politics!
Oh, where do I fall in the categories of politicians. I'm not running for higher office but I'm also not looking for cover for reelection. Unlike most elected officials my primary goal is not reelection. I came here to make changes, to voice the opinion that government has got to start making better decisions. That is what I will continue to do until the people of Olive Branch decide they want someone else or my wife and I decide the sacrifice for our family is becoming too great.
Well, with that in mind, here I go ready for another day of fighting.
It's still February 20th and its a little after 9 pm. I've just got one lesson I want to let you know that i've learned today. Politics is a cesspool of lies and deceit. This place really is no place for honest descent men and women. Also, if you are the leader and the organization you are leading is a pit of waste, its very possible its your fault.