From what I am told, my days are fairly typical for a legislator. I wake up with the sunrise and head on over to the state Capitol. I spend most of my early mornings voraciously reading many of the state's newspapers and returning telephone calls that came in overnight.
I'm also meeting new legislators every day. This, too, is an odd phenomenon. It's like grade school, where the boys sit on one side of the room and the girls on the other; except in this instance, it's Republicans on one side and Democrats on the other.
When I have a free moment, I wander the hallways, poking my head into the offices, saying, "Hello" and trying to meet all the new folks. Staff members are confused; they ask, "What do you want?" and "How can we help you?" I want to learn their names and try to introduce myself, but they all seem to already know me.
Many in Sacramento also ask, "Are you really that conservative?" My answer is always the same, "Orange County!" Growing up in Orange County has made me who I am.
Lunchtime around the Capitol is a lot like being caught up in a tornado. You never quite know where you are going to land. There are any number of "insider" locations and "meet and greets" to attend, ranging from hot dogs to filet mignon and all within walking distance of the Capitol. But sometimes, a sandwich at my desk works best.
Upon returning to the Capitol rotunda, I'm constantly reminded that I'm walking the same halls as Ronald Reagan, Earl Warren and Hiram Johnson. It's a real thrill to call these hallways my new home.
My office workday ends about five in the afternoon; but in Sacramento, now begins a round of dinners, receptions and caucus gatherings. It's a time to share ideas, discuss issues and the news of the day, greet folks from home, bond with colleagues and find solutions to better serve the people of California.
The hardest part about the job comes at the end of my day, when I know I'm just an hour's flight away from Orange County, yet I return to my Sacramento apartment. It is there that I make a last phone call home to share the day's activities with my wife, Connie. She reassures me that I'm making a difference in Sacramento by representing the "regular folks" who live in the communities I represent. Then it's a quick look at the weather report, hop into bed, and get a good night's sleep … for tomorrow, I will wake up and do it all over again.
Jim Silva represents Dist. 67, which serves Huntington Beach.