Maureen Hayden, writing for CNHI, has a good column on the State firefly initiative. The goal was to have Say’s Firefly (named after 19th century naturalist Thomas Say) designated as Indiana’s state insect.
I take special interest in this one because the initiative was led by second grade kids from Cumberland Elementary and their teacher, Maggie Samudio. That’s part of my community. My kids went through Cumberland, I’m on the school board, and the school is a block away from me. I think the effort they put in was fantastic. And they were able to enlist a bipartisan group of local legislators to carry the legislation. Senator Alting and Representative Klinker carried the legislation, and I believe Representative Truitt twisted some arms and turned in some favors to get a committee hearing — because our local legislators are community-minded people.
Ultimately, the state pie people did us in. Legislators apparently got enough blow back for what was regarded as frivolous use of time, naming a state pie, in 2009 that they had no appetite for proceeding with a state insect. (I question this explanation a little inasmuch as the legislature did not balk at naming a state rifle in 2012.) Ultimately, however, the process for the students has more value than the actual passage of legislation getting the firefly named as state insect. Ms. Samudio’s response “there is always next year,” is definitely part of the process. For example, we have Daylight Saving Time because its enthusiasts ground away year after year until they were able to pass the law by the barest of margins. Also part of the process is realizing that the merit of your cause is not the only factor — there’s also the context in which legislators are operating. In this case, part of that context was having blow back from the sugar pie efforts some years earlier.
Regardless of the outcome this session, I’m proud of our kids and our community.