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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Bulgaria MP's and a Buzz of District Voters

Yesterday the whole day was a whirl of handshaking and meeting the voters of District 22. The Bay Area Transportation Group was buzzing with smiling faces for breakfast. What a great, passionate group of proactive and concerned citizens!
In the afternoon I met with a delegation of newly elected Parliament members from Bulgaria - who are here to see how U.S. democracy works. I introduced them to historic Richmond with its old world charm. While Bulgaria has been free of communist rule for quite some time, these delegates were from the Parliament just formed in May 2005. They have at least a dozen parties to our two primary parties. All but one of the new Bulgarian Congress are women - there was only one man in the group today. All of them seemed very intelligent and dedicated. We discussed the need for economic development in Bulgaria and discussed the potential for tourism, high tech, and the need for health care workers for their aging population. Naturally, they were curious about elected officials, indictments, and what to expect from recent scandals. However, question closest to their hearts was about the international kidnapping > negotiations I was involved in the Middle East. It turns out Bulgaria has 6 people being held in Libya. I offered what comfort and insight I could and promised to help in any way possible. Their democracy seems vibrant, young at heart, and refreshingly idealistic. Sometimes it is hard to keep hope alive in a democracy. The Bulgarian delegates’ enthusiasm was contagious. I shall carry it with me for some time. I was proud to represent Texas and District 22 in such a positive light. You can be sure we made a good impression and bolstered our international relations with this coalition partner. The IIE does such a fantastic job of arranging these visits. This is truly growing democracy around the world.

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