‘Show and tell’ used to help shape lawmaker decisions
By Jeffrey Pieters
With a gray screech owl perched on his gloved left hand, Olmsted Parks Superintendent Tom Ryan was doing all he could to get a group of state and federal representatives and their political opponents to give a hoot about county government.
"Hey, I’m technically a nonessential service," Ryan joked. "I’ve got to do what I can."
Leaders from all of the county’s main departments were trying to show themselves as knowledgeable, helpful and essential to the higher-office-holders, who control the money that county government depends on.
The first Olmsted County Issues and Answers Fair, held Monday at the city-county Government Center, was mainly "to get a hold of them (state and federal candidates) before they’ve firmed up their positions," said organizer Amy Caucutt, the county’s legislative lobbyist.
Nine of 16 people invited to the fair attended or sent representatives.