New legislator offers secret to being heard in the House
Date: 2/1/2011Feb. 2, 2011
By Katelyn Gendron
WEST SPRINGFIELD How does a freshman state legislator get his colleagues to take his positions seriously in the House? According to first-year State Rep. Michael Finn, "you stand on your desk and talk the loudest."
Finn assured that he was only kidding but maintained he's ready to fight the good fight on behalf of the 6th Hampden District without any unnecessary theatrics, countering the stereotype that freshman legislators aren't worth their weight in votes.
The representative said he isn't trying to cut corners or rest on his laurels as a tenured town councilor. Rather, Finn is making strides to juggle his responsibilities as a state representative, town councilor, husband and father of three.
"There's no guidebook, I found that out. There's nobody standing there at the entrance [to the State House] welcoming you into the building," he joked during a candid interview with Reminder Publications.
Finn explained that the learning curve is steep, and while the knowledge he's obtained as a town councilor has aided his understanding of business on the state level, being a legislator in Boston is far more complicated.
"The first year is just learning to be a state representative. It's not just a matter of being personable and getting your face in the paper. It's about the volumes of information ... there are reams and reams [of it]," he said in reference to filing bills, co-sponsoring legislation, keeping current with constituents' e-mails and other job responsibilities. "You want to be sensitive to all positions while also being true to yourself."
"I really have this desire to do a great job as a state representative," Finn added.
He said he's focused on the upcoming fiscal year 2012 budget process and lobbying to maintain local aid vital to funding public schools and municipal services. Finn noted he has reviewed Gov. Deval Patrick's budget recommendations and is unsure of his call to mandate municipal enrollment in the GIC would really save money in the long run or that his district would actually see increases to school and infrastructure funding as outlined.
When asked what his goals are for his first few months as state representative, Finn replied, "To learn the position as much as possible. I don't know how any other freshman [legislator] could have any other goal."
He'd also like to maintain a balance of district service and time spent in Boston by working in Western Massachusetts Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and at the State House on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Constituents in the 6th Hampden District may reach Finn at firstname.lastname@example.org