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A day at the ledge: Rep. Deborah Ross

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For some of us, the last time we thought about how laws and bills got passed in the opaque system of state politics was when we took an elementary school field trip to the legislative building in Raleigh. We tried to act interested as we toured the hallways, when really we just wanted to run up and down the red-carpeted staircase that beckoned us as we walked into the official-looking building.

For Rep. Deborah Ross, a Wake County Democrat, the real work of passing legislation starts at 9 a.m. and is rarely over until after 7 that evening. Meetings, e-mail, phone calls and receptions: Much of the give and take of politics happens in the hallways and between events, in the form of the whispered compromise, the gentle (or not so gentle) verbal tug to a side of an issue.

This day-to-day legislating is what we didn't see as kids, as we were transfixed by the red-carpeted staircase. And it's what few voters see as well.

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