At our elementary school’s silent auction last Spring, we bid on and won a behind-the-scenes tour of the Massachusetts State House, and lunch with our Representative, Peter Kocot. We finally got all of our schedules to mesh, and headed out to the State House in late August. We didn’t really know what to expect. Nate had visited the State House as a child on a school trip, and having grown up here is very familiar with the history of the state. In comparison, I’m a near total ignoramus.
We had parking arranged for us right outside the statehouse. We had to check in with the State Trooper, who verified that we were on “the list” and were allowed to park curbside right there. There’s something about getting special parking that makes you want to crow about it, especially in a city such as Boston where parking is hard to find and REALLY expensive. I wanted to stand at the curb and shout, “Everyone! Look at this parking spot!” But Nate insisted we were running late and should go inside.
We briefly met Representative Kocot in his office, and then he escorted us up to the standard tour, telling us he’d meet us in the House chambers after the tour. We had a lovely tour guide who took us through the building, telling us about the history, the architecture, and the artwork throughout. It is a very impressive building:
The Senate chambers. Not that the heights of the chairs all differ depending on the height of the senator so that they are all level when sitting down together!
The House chambers. This is the view from the podium, where tours are not normally allowed.
We met Representative Kocot there in the House chambers and talked about what it’s like when the legislature is in session. We saw his desk, and his neighbor’s collection of Pez dispensers which she has stashed in her desk. We talked about what it’s like to stand up in the chambers and speak. We got to sit in the speaker’s chair, and touch the gavel pad (which is dented and splintered!).
Aaron doesn’t look like he’d take the Speaker’s job too seriously!
Lydia, on the other hand, looks like she’s plotting to take over the world.
From there we went to lunch at a very nice restaurant full of what looked to be wheeling and dealing politicians. The kids were well-behaved, and we had a wonderful meal. It was interesting to talk politics with an actual politician. We asked lots of questions about the influence of money on politics, the issues that Representative Kocot finds particularly exciting, and what he sees are the biggest issues moving forward in our state, and our area in particular.
As we were leaving the restaurant, I heard a familiar voice call out, “Hi, Pete!” I realized that it was Governor Deval Patrick greeting Representative Kocot as he was walking briskly by. We had heard earlier that he was giving a big speech that afternoon, it being the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s March on Washington. He was apparently on his way to make the speech. Mr. Kocot called out to him, “Governor!” And he actually stopped and came over. Our lovely Representative introduced each of us and we all got to shake hands with the governor. It would have been enough of a thrill just to have seen the governor walk by, but it was such a nice gesture from Mr. Kocot to give us the chance to actually meet him!
We said our goodbyes and thank yous and decided to walk around Boston Common before we piled in the car to come home.
My two politicians.
From the Swan Boat.