New lawmaker launches video about 1st days in state Legislature

2013-01-15T07:12:00Z 2013-01-15T07:14:07Z New lawmaker launches video about 1st days in state LegislatureBy JOHN GRANT EMEIGH Montana Standard The Billings Gazette
January 15, 2013 7:12 am  • 

BUTTE — Freshman state Rep. Amanda Curtis, D-Butte, got a rude reception when she brought up her first bill before the Montana Legislature in Helena on Monday.

Whistles from her fellow lawmakers interrupted her as she read the bill, and then everyone initially cast “no” votes on a non-controversial proposal that was expected to pass with flying colors.

Fortunately, the legislators switched their electronic votes to “yes” before the voting ended.

Welcome to the Legislature, fresh meat!

Curtis eventually realized that she was the victim of a little lighthearted hazing that all freshman lawmakers get when they introduce their first legislation.

“I was so petrified of the whole process, I didn’t realize what was happening until somebody told me afterwards,” Curtis said Monday. Curtis, a high school math teacher, is one of 39 newcomers in the 100-member House.

Expect the 33-year-old Democrat from Butte to talk about this little adventure in her latest video journal entry from the state Capitol. Curtis has been using social media as a way of letting the “average Joe” into the seemingly exclusive world of state government.

Curtis said she has been recording daily videos about life at the Legislature. As of Monday, she’s made five clips that she runs on her Facebook and YouTube accounts.

“My hope is to have a more open conversation in government,” Curtis said.

While campaigning for office, Curtis said she learned that many voters really don’t know what legislators do. She hopes her video blog will encourage more participation in the political process.

Curtis recounts committee meetings, bills she is working on or researching and alerts people to hearings or major votes. She also uses the forum to invite people to speak at committee meetings or hearings.

The video presentations are informal and she often recounts her hectic schedule of running to and from meetings and votes. During a recent posting, Curtis talked about how the lobbyists are quick to talk to legislators they see wearing legislative blue name badges.

“It’s great to have a really long ponytail to cover up your name badge when you need to get some place fast,” she joked in the video.

State Rep. Amanda Curtis’ video entries from the Montana Legislature may be seen at https://www.facebook.com/CurtisForLegislature?fref+ts

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