Commented by Marcia Hamilton

Sausage: draw the curtain on Congress, the American board of directors, published October 13, 2021. Kindle edition available on

Sausage is made by mixing a bunch of different cuts of meat and spices and salt and fillers together to keep the meat in a casing. When Congress makes legislation, members (and, increasingly, their lobbyists) mix up a (sometimes disparate) set of policies and ideas to keep those policies in law. Sausages and Legislation are made in various countries and regions receipts (ideas, policies, perspective), spices (funding and budget), and cooking methods (the labyrinth of outdated rules of procedure and seniority).

We might expect Sausage, Lieutenant Governor Denny Heck’s new book, which will simply be the old 10e The District Representative’s Perspective on “How a bill becomes a law”, With some glimpses of his 10 years of Congressional service (2010-2020) in Other Washington, trying (successfully and sometimes unsuccessfully) to add meat to the mix to make a difference. However, to jump to that conclusion would be doing the book a huge disservice. Sausage is much, much more than that.

The book is a journal. It’s a brief. It is the documentation of historical events in turbulent times. The first indication of the author’s point of view is his “dedication” to his colleagues Adam Schiff, John Lewis, Nancy Pelosi and Derek Kilmer, colleagues for whom the author has the highest regard and whose efforts to “change we can believe “. he details throughout the volume with admiration.

The introduction to the book explains why Sausage is not “How a bill becomes a law”. Indeed, the author begins by describing and recommending his two favorite books that do so: The dance of legislation by Eric Redman (which Heck writes to have read 11 times) and Master of the Senate (a tome on Lyndon Johnson) by Robert Caro. The author adds, however, that as “… founders as my two favorite books are, I’m not sure either fully captures what it’s like to serve as a member of the Congress. What are the pressures on a daily basis? Where is the joy? Where are the frustrations? From a member’s perspective, what makes the place work and, all too often, not. He ends the introduction by declaring:

“This book is from my perspective as a person with my life experiences and representing the district I have served. It could not be written without repeating certain aspects of a memoir from my stay in Congress. Hope it’s more than that. I will also address some of the institutional issues that stubbornly plague Congress, and while not a political manifesto, I have also laid out my prescription for the biggest challenges I see we face, challenges which, in my opinion, eat away at the foundations of a democracy and a planet. Thus, the opportunity for those who read the following is, quite simply, to put themselves in my shoes. Hope they are comfortable. ”

Sausage is divided into chapters that reveal Denny Heck’s goals, titled: Gratefully, Daily Chaos, Campaign stuff, Intelligence (Special House Standing Committee on Intelligence); Faith and Politics; Staff; Military and veterans; Indian country; Give the floor to Bloviating and “What would it take?” There is an epilogue, a conclusion, several speeches, some FAQs and his eloquent remarks to Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, and “On Impeachment”.

The book begins with his letter announcing his retirement from Congress and ends with his suggestions for “dealing with the pernicious problems facing our democracy.” He writes:

“The American spirit of a common purpose is undermined and our growing differences harden into brutal tribalism.

“If working hard and playing by the rules doesn’t lead to opportunities, then we won’t be shareholders in America.

“A renewed American spirit and a level playing field economically won’t matter if the political system is rigged.”

This is an extremely personal, readable, quick and stimulating book that reveals a man committed to public service, authenticity, his constituents, his state, his nation, the rule of law, the constitution and his “obligation. to those who follow.

SausageThe pages of are strewn with a mix of people, anecdotes and stories – from home, family, Gonzaga, colleagues, committee meetings, votes, reflections, surveys, maneuvers. policies and “when you least expect it” times.

Most of the time, however, the book chronicles our new lieutenant governor’s efforts to make a difference in this other Washington and what he was able and could not do.

Marcia Hamilton is a retired international development consultant who became involved in Democratic Party politics in Thurston and Mason counties.

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