I have been following politics for many years. I trace my awakening to the news and politics to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It was something in the news that we discussed in school, and I did not know or understand what my classmates were talking about. After school, I read the stories about MLK in the Daily News and Newsday that were delivered daily. When my father came home, he brought a copy of the New York Times.
I was so interested in public policy that I did a master’s in public policy late in life. Having the degree helped my career as a government contractor working with government executives and appointees. Unlike others who go into public policy, I was fascinated with policy compliance and implementation. It became helpful in trying to implement information security policies for the government.
After 40 years in computing and 25 years with the federal government, I burned out. Since then, I have followed numismatic-related policy because the U.S. Mint does not strike any legal tender coin without a law permitting them.
Since retiring in 2017, partisan politics has gone from bad to worse. Politicians and their constituents are no longer talking with each other but shouting at each other. It is no longer looking to accomplish something for the common good but who can score points.
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as the radical middle. Those of us in the center are willing to work together but are being shut out by the shouting coming from the extremes.
Numismatic-related bills are not immune to the policy divide. The bills get dumped into committees and are subject to the partisan scorecard review. These bills languish in committee until an end-of-session floor review.
Although following numismatic legislation is necessary to know what the U.S Mint strikes next, it is no longer fun. Therefore, this will be the last monthly report. In the future, I will post updates after the Government Printing Office reports them. The GPO is the official publisher of the U.S. government and they are responsible for publishing everything from congress.
For the last monthly report, Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY) introduced H.R. 5601, the Erie Canal Bicentennial Commemorative Coin Act. If passed, the bill will create a commemorative program to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the building of the Erie Canal.
In 2025, the bill would require the U.S. Mint to strike clad half-dollars, silver dollars, and gold $5 coins with the dual date 2017-2025. These dates would mark the 200th anniversary of the construction of the canal (1817-1825). The funds raised from the sale of these coins would be paid to the “Erie Canalway Heritage Fund, Inc., to support the historic preservation, conservation, recreation, interpretation, tourism, and community development of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and for educational and commemorative programs of the Erie Canal’s history and impact on our Nation’s history.”
H.R. 5601: Erie Canal Bicentennial Commemorative Coin Act
It would not be the first time the Erie Canal appears on a coin. The Erie Canal was the innovation celebrated on the 2021 New York American Innovation $1 Coin.