Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Update from Iraq

Take a break from what’s happening in Illinois — Public Official A, Democratic infighting, fiscal implosion — and think abroad. State Rep. Jim Watson, a Jacksonville Republican, reports to us from Iraq, where he’s expected to serve a nine-month tour of duty with the U.S. Marines. We received this e-mail from Ben Jackson in Watson’s legislative office:

Rep. Watson is currently stationed with the U.S. Marine Corps 3rd Civil Affairs Group in Fallujah, Iraq, working with local, tribal, and provincial governments. He is working long days reviewing local and provincial legislation, advising local officials, and assisting in the development of the modern Iraqi government. Tasks to date have included analyzing provincial powers laws (separation of powers) and assisting local government meetings and councils.

He is enjoying his work, and really feels that the Iraqi citizens want to succeed. He stated last week: “Governance is the key to victory, and I can personally attest that the Iraqis are working hard at implementing their own form of representative government.”

However, he is also able to communicate with his District on a regular basis. When he is not performing military duties, Rep. Watson is able to call into the office regularly, and we frequently correspond by e-mail regarding constituent issues, the budget, and his legislative agenda.

What’s in the bag? Watson said it held some of his gear. Jackson said Watson replied, “Hey, you have to work with what’s available around here!”

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