Have you ever had the feeling that you are part of something bigger than yourself? There is a certain air of mystery to it--it is as if something big is happening and, even though you did not originate it, you are called to stand up for a period of time to help this "thing" move forward. You think your part is small and maybe you think your actions are inconsequential to the ultimate success or failure of the "thing" (and maybe they are) but you know you were called to stand up and be counted anyway . . .
That is the feeling I got today as I stood in the State Capitol in New Hampshire and gave a quick, 3 or 4 minute testimony in support of House Bill 1440. I had come prepared to speak for 12-15 minutes but there were so many supporters, the Senate committee chairman asked everyone to keep it brief--reminding us that if we turn in written testimony, the committee will be able to read what we wanted to say. As far as my part? I think my testimony went well enough, but I don't think testimony was the most important thing I could bring. Rather, I think I was able to bring encouragement. Before the hearing, I spoke for just a few minutes to some of the other people who would testify in support of the bill. I know I was encouraged by them, and they were impressed that I would travel from halfway across the country to stand beside them and support them. In turn, they encouraged others and they encouraged me. The committee had over 25 pages listing people who wanted to make their opinions known about the bill (that's about 500 signatures total). Of those, the majority supported the bill and wanted to voice their support.
I don't know how the committee will vote, but I do know that I met amazing people: amazing moms and dads, amazing public servants, and amazing 15 and 16 year olds--teenagers who spoke more eloquently than many of the adults who testified against the bill. If this bill passes, it won't be because I had a wonderful, poignant and pithy testimony (it wasn't that wonderful), it will be due to well over 300 regular citizens who chose to take time out of their busy days and busy lives to stand up for what they feel is important. This was our Democratic Republic at work in the way the founding father's intended. I am humbled and grateful to have been a part of this bill.
If you or your family or friends live in New Hampshire, please direct them to the website below and urge them to call their senators in support of the bill. The committee will vote next week. If you missed the hearing, there's still time to email the Senate Transportation Committee:
Chairman Rausch firstname.lastname@example.org
David Boutin email@example.com
James Forsythe firstname.lastname@example.org
Molly Kelly email@example.com
Nancy Stiles firstname.lastname@example.org
Excerpt from the bill website:
New Hampshire’s driver ed system is broken!
Driver Ed in this state costs an average of $600-$700! Many New Hampshire teens can’t afford driver education, so they wait until they turn 18 to get their license, bypassing our Graduated Driver Licensing system and driver ed. We can fix this problem by offering teens an affordable driver ed program. The 2012 Driver Ed Bill (HB 1440) would provide an online driver ed option with parent provided behind-the-wheel training. Costing around $70, online driver ed programs would offer a financially feasible, yet high-quality driver ed option for teenagers here in New Hampshire, so that all teenagers would have an equal opportunity to earn their driver’s license.
New Hampshire families aren’t asking for a handout, subsidy, or freebie. They’re asking for an option….