The Clinton County Chamber of Commerce will host its second legislative breakfast of 2021 this weekend, and this time it will be in person.
“We had a virtual one, of course, in January, and it really worked out well. But we just really believe in interpersonal contact – actually being there and communicating,” said Jason Wilhite, membership and events director for the Clinton County Chamber of Commerce.
This weekend’s legislative breakfast, which typically features state representatives Don Lehe, Jim Buck, Heath VanNatter and Brian Buchanan, will begin at 8:30 a.m. Saturday in the Frankfort High School cafeteria.
“Karen (Sutton) on the school board reached out to (CCCC executive director) Shan (Sheridan) and said that Community Schools of Frankfort would be more than happy to host,” Wilhite said. “We got ahold of (CSF Superintendent) Joel (McKinney), and he was excited to let us use Frankfort High School.”
Wilhite says that events like these legislative breakfasts are great opportunities to communicate with your local representatives.
“It is crucial to be engaged in state and local politics,” he said. “The federal gets all of the press, but it is really your state and local representatives that have the most impact on your life.
“Come and attend,” Wilhite added. “Every member of the legislature speaks about what has been their focus, and there is a question-and-answer session and comments. In the meeting after the meeting, you can introduce yourself and say, ‘I am having trouble… there is something going on… how can you help?’ They do take what they say seriously, and they do follow up when somebody has a question they can’t answer right away. Being involved and engaged is the way a representative republic works.”
Wilhite says about 30 people logged-in to participate in the virtual legislative breakfast earlier this month.
“The virtual one is archived right now,” he said. “It did very well. We had 30 in attendance, which is about what we usually have in the live session. But being there and being able to look your representatives in the eyes and being with everybody – when we are able to do that, we really want that kind of engagement.”
Wilhite says that being able to use the open space of the cafeteria has it advantages.
“We can socially distance better,” Wilhite said. “Thirty isn’t a large number, but when you are talking 6-feet apart by 30, it becomes a pretty spacious need. Joe and Karen really helped us out. That kind of space they offered complimentary is a wonderful thing. We enjoy getting together with voters and potential voters and helping them get informed for what could be coming down the pipe at the Statehouse.
“And we invite students who want to get involved and be a part of that process,” he added. “We let Joe know that any student would be welcomed.”