I admit I’ve been thinking a lot about what The Economist said about former Mayor Palin’s annual lobbying trips to Washington on the behalf of her vast metropolis of less than 9,000 people.
I was poised to write an ironic letter to the Hastings Star Gazette chiding our own mayor for his lackluster lobbying in comparison, until I ran into him in the grocery store.
Mayor Palin (pop 9,000) made annual trips to DC to stump for federal handouts to her tiny town. I doubted that our mayor (pop 20,000) had ever made a lobbying visit, much less an annual one.
So I asked asked mayor directly when I ran into him at the new grocery store south of town: has he been making his own annual visits to DC?
He admitted that, in fact, he DID make a lobbying visit last year, to beg for a new bridge. Our bridge over the Mississippi is, of course, is one of the worst rated in Minnesota – or at least the worst rated that hasn’t fallen down or been subjected to emergency closure.
(Okay, I admit it, it WAS closed a couple time this summer while they made temporary repairs – but there was a lot of warning, so I don’t think of this as “emergency closure.” Most likely the repairs were paid in part by this bit of federal pork).
By the way, the bridge actually GOES somewhere, unlike the bridges in Alaska. In fact, the bridge carries US 61 – and if you haven’t heard of the road, ask Bob Dylan.