Perspective: Back in gear after spring break

It has been a busy week in the Senate, but one that was particularly enjoyable, as I had the opportunity to interact with a variety of diverse groups and individuals.

Last Friday evening, I indulged on some of the finest fish I have eaten to date at the St. Andrews Parish fish fry. I had a great time and enjoyed seeing and talking to many of you. Whether eating fish, drinking coffee, or walking the halls of the Capitol, I am always grateful for your kind words of support and candid comments and observations about what state government, the Senate as a whole, or I need to be doing better or differently.

On Saturday afternoon, I attended a fundraiser for the Latham School that was devastated by fire. Though the impetus for this fundraiser was tragic, this event reveals again how we take care of each other in Central Missouri, and I was honored to see the friends and neighbors of the Moniteau County area united in the common purpose of helping to restore what fire cruelly took.

Monday night brought the Senate Bowling Tournament, and although our team did not fare well, the American Cancer Society did great, having more than $3,000 raised for the Senate’s Relay for Life team. We have all been touched by the effects of this horrible disease, so I am proud of the Senate and the hard working staff at the Capitol who support this very worthy cause.

Tuesday was “Truman University Day” at the Capitol, and I was happy to meet with many great students from the 6th Senate district that currently attend Truman — they are doing some great things and are daily learning and preparing to lead Missouri into the future.

On Thursday morning, I was pleased to be able to speak at an AREVA Supplier Day event. AREVA is a global supplier of nuclear technology and this was only the third event they have hosted in the United States. This event brought in businesses from across the state and Midwest that produce, ship, and supply parts and labor necessary for a new nuclear plant at the current Callaway site. These businesses, from every corner of Missouri who hire employees and provide goods and services, were drawn to Jefferson City to discuss the potential and real opportunities that a multi-billion dollar nuclear plant would provide.

After speaking at the AREVA Supplier event, I was visited in the Capitol by FFA chapters from Callaway, Miller, Morgan, and Moniteau counties. These young men and women are always a pleasure to interact with, and never fail to impress me with maturity beyond their years and an air of confidence.

After the Senate adjourned on Thursday, I enjoyed lunch with Future Leaders of the Association of General Contractors (AGC Missouri). All were concerned about the current economic climate of the state and nation, particularly as it pertains to the role of construction in getting the economy back on track. These young professionals all understand the benefits and opportunities that a robust transportation/infrastructure program, as well as a second nuclear plant, would provide for our state.

These are the companies who help put Missourians back to work — real jobs with real benefits. They understand and support ideas that move Missouri forward, including a solution to provide MoDOT the funding it needs for safe roads and the necessity of baseload power production capacity and transmission infrastructure.

On Thursday night, along with Rep. Riddle, David Klindt (VP MO. Association of Co-0p’s) and Warren Wood (Ameren MO.), I spoke to the Fulton Economic Development Corporation. About 200 people from across Callaway County attended this presentation on Senate Bill 321, and after the presentation they were all very engaged in the question and answer session.

It was abundantly clear that this and other similar groups are frustrated that common-sense ideas can’t seem to get discussed on the floor of the House or the Senate. The grass roots support for SB 321 is stronger than ever, which gives me great inspiration. Speaking of Callaway II, I am disappointed that SB 321 has not been voted on in committee, thereby preventing it from being heard and debated on the floor by the Senate as a whole. In late February and early March, I received commitments that a nuclear bill would be voted out of committee and heard on the floor before spring break, and despite the more than 250 supporters of SB 321 at the committee hearing, these commitments have not been kept.

Unfortunately, I see no substantive evidence that key individuals have any desire to keep their commitments on this topic. Many of you told me as I ran for this seat, “Don’t become one of ‘them’.” I now know exactly what was meant by “them”. These individuals remain beholden to two large companies, both owned and managed by individuals from outside the state, and are allowing them to hold the state’s energy policy hostage to the severe detriment of future generations of Missourians.

You elected me to help put Missourians back to work, and I will continue to work toward the largest economic development project in the state’s history: a new nuclear plant.

My next coffee will be Friday, 15 April, at the Coffee Zone in Jefferson City from 7-8 am. I am in this office to serve the constituents of the 6th Senatorial District. Please contact us at (573) 751-2076 if my office or I can be of any assistance to you or if you have questions.

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