Sitting at the kitchen table just after dinnertime has become the new normal for the Broome County Legislature for close to a year now.
Regular meetings are done completely on Zoom, with legislators like Jason Shaw dialing in from the comfort of their own homes. It’s a taken a bit to get used to, but he’s beginning to see some benefits.
“Sometimes we’re able to stop for a little longer, really think about a situation without so much pressure or so many people sitting around a table. There’s sort of a social pressure to that, if you will,” said Republican legislator Jason Shaw.
As Shaw prepares his tea for another weekly meeting, he reflects on a historic 2020 for the legislature. In a time when the world seems divided, Broome County passed all 501 of its resolutions, with 498 passing unanimously.
As Republican Shaw dials in his fellow legislator, and friend, Democrat Kim Myers, the two reflect the unprecedented bipartisanship.
“We’re in this together and we know we have our constituents, which is ourselves and our loved ones and our families, we have an obligation and a desire to do the right thing,” said Kim Myers.
With the respect and friendship that these two share, partisan politics have never really had a place. Sure, the two may not agree on everything, but in 2020, they put the needs of the community first.
“The decorum, the respect, the manners that we all show each other is something that there could be some others in the federal government might want to take an example," said Myers.
“I’m sure we’ll have our things in the years ahead that will come up and will cause some arguments at times, but I think we’ve built a lot of trust during this coronavirus and this quarantine that will help us move forward in the years ahead,” said Shaw.
While this friendship, and these weekly Zooms may never end, both longtime legislators hope the bipartisanship won’t either.