On My Watch

I was a kid just out of college and was thrown into the deep end, without the requisite note from my parents. It was such an exhilarating learning curve and I was scared to death but intrigued.

These fellow legislative analysts were my family for the next few years. I found out early on any legislation I imagined or wrote would affect millions of people. That was a frightening thought. I vowed to do the best for everyone.

My boss, who had done my job before, let me do the grunt work and he went to meetings without me, without even telling me the meetings were about my work. The legislative bill drafting group wrote up potential laws for colleagues. I wrote my own, usually after awakening at 3:00 in the morning, a habit I have decades later. For many, they said they had no changes and good job, girl.

I messed up on a few things. I didn’t see AIDS coming, neither did anyone else but I helped pass legislation on employment and housing and of course it was denied by the senate. Now we have marriages.

I helped NYC by requiring netting on all construction so people on the sidewalks were safe and workers did not fall off concrete platforms.

In the end, I was in the forefront of privacy legislation and put together a team with every committee that had an interest. Mine was cable tv back then and it was really pre-internet. Reader’s Digest killed at the last moment. The bill was 1984. Yes, I’d reserved A.B. 1984 the year before and had gifts for the people who saved that number.

There was hard work on sexual orientation but now there are marriages. Crime victims do not have to sit in the same room as the offender. People who get speeding tickets pay restitution to the state that a criminal owes. I was there near the Son of Sam Law.

Mistakes were made but my heart and brain were good. I get to go to sleep at night knowing that I made a difference in the lives of 34 million people. As a kid, figuring that out, that was and would still be a daunting task. Now I’m retired and get crosswalks and tax refunds. Ah, well, back in the day. Dee

ps My husband put a pad of paper and a pen so if I’ve one of my many great ideas at 3:00 in the morning I can write it down and go back to sleep. I love this guy.

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