Freshman Sen. Anthony Cannella had no shortage of knowledge about the topic of his first remarks on the Senate floor.
"Engineers have contributed so much to our society," Cannella, a licensed civil engineer, said in support of a Senate Resolution honoring National Engineers Week. "You can thank engineers for the automobile, the airplane, for radio and television, computers, the highway system, and, contrary to what other people have said, the Internet was actually created by engineers."
The subject was about as straightforward and uncontroversial as it gets. But the Ceres Republican's colleagues didn't let him escape his first time speaking on the floor without fielding at least a few questions.
"I actually had a question for the co-author... You said something about engineers actually having created the Internet, and I always thought our esteemed former Vice President Al Gore created the Internet. Was he an engineer?" Senate GOP leader Bob Dutton queried, referencing an oft-quoted (and mocked) 1999 interview of Gore.
"We in the Legislative branch, we have a lot of ideas and a lot of them are big and we turn them over to the actual engineers to actually create the ideas, to turn them into something real," Cannella answered with a smile.
But Dutton wasn't done with the friendly banter.
"I understand that George Washington was actually an engineer. ... Do you plan to use this as a way to aspire to higher office, a higher calling?" he asked.
Cannella was ready with a response that gave his caucus leader and colleagues a chuckle:
"Is there anything higher than the state Senate?" he cracked.
The resolution, and Cannella's first performance on the floor, both won approval of the Senate.