Perspective: Redistricting map opposed

I began the week at the Ike Skelton Training Site at a deployment ceremony for members of the 548th Transportation Company. Though the company is based in Trenton, a 30-man detachment is from Centertown.

These soldiers are beginning a year-long deployment, on our behalf, to Afghanistan with the critical mission of transporting goods, services, and personnel. While this deployment ceremony was rightfully more somber than homecoming ceremonies, I was amazed at the positive attitudes of these soldiers and their families.

In spite of potential dangers, and separation from loved ones, all were committed to their mission and proud of their service in uniform. I am indebted to each of these men and women, as well as to the husbands and wives, sons and daughters, and friends and family who they leave behind, for their service and sacrifice on our behalf, and consider it a tremendous honor to have been a part of this ceremony.

After returning from the ceremony, I met with members of the current Leadership Jefferson City class. It is always a pleasure to speak with the members and to better understand the needs and perceptions of the future leaders of Central Missouri.

Senate Bill 48, one of several bills that contain the early site permit language, remains in capable hands. This bill is on the calendar for debate by the whole Senate, and while we prepare for debate, we continue discussions and negotiations with senators and interested parties from both sides of this issue. Members from both sides of the aisle, representing both urban and rural districts, agree that this legislation is important for Missouri, and are as committed as I am to getting this legislation passed.

I was exceedingly disappointed that the Senate approved a redistricting map on Wednesday that failed to recognize the unique nature of Central Missouri. The implications of this map are significant, and I believe that if this map becomes law, it will likely result in Central Missouri being represented by a member of Congress from suburban St. Louis before Missouri experiences redistricting again.

Additionally, I do not believe that Callaway County can, or should, be represented by two separate members of Congress. I spoke against this map and voted against it too, but was ultimately unable to convince my fellow senators.

Since the Senate map is different from the House version, I expect that the House and the Senate will go to conference, which will allow one more opportunity to craft a map that better protects the interests of Central Missouri.

After adjourning on Thursday, I had the good fortune to speak at a Community Alliance Alumni Meeting at the Highway Patrol Academy. This was my first experience with this group, which serves the very noble purpose of promoting and supporting the Highway Patrol.

For those of you who call and stop into the office, you will see the new face of Payton Atteberry who is joining us as an intern for the remainder of this session. Payton is a senior at Eldon High School and a member of the National Championship FFA Parliamentary Procedure Team. I am excited to have Payton as part of the team and look forward to him learning a great deal from observing the Senate first hand.

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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