Normally when I sit down to write this report, I think through the week chronologically and organize my thoughts in that manner. Claudia would argue that my thoughts are never really organized, but I believe that even she would agree that my approach to this week's column, which is to begin with the most important thing, is appropriate. With that being said, I ask for your indulgence in departing from my normal approach.
On Friday, I had the great privilege of attending a ceremony where Gov. Jay Nixon presented the French Legion of Honor Medal to John Sullivan of Jefferson City for his brave and faithful service in the skies over France immediately following the D-Day Invasion.
Sullivan and his wife "Bee," the two of whom began dating in high school, are part of a generation that is vanishing quickly. Their sacrifice, their persistence and their commitment to one another and to the United States moved me greatly. I am grateful for Sullivan's service, and I am thankful for the opportunity to have met him and his family this morning. I was captivated hearing Sullivan share his recollections of how the English Channel looked on D-Day, where he was on VE Day and VJ Day and how they celebrated these monumental events .
I cannot say thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Sullivan in a manner that adequately expresses the gratitude I have for their service and for the life that they have built and shared. I am grateful for the opportunity to have met this couple and am proud to live in a state and a community that recognizes and appreciates the service of not only the greatest generation, but all who have worn and continue to wear the uniform in service of our country.
I also thank Gov. Nixon for hosting the ceremony and for his continued, steadfast support for Missouri's veterans.
The main focus of effort for the Senate this week was legislation to address school transfers. Addressing the problem of transfers from unaccredited school districts, in a manner that above all considers the students, is a Senate priority. Originally, there were nine bills filed to address this issue. These nine bills, filed by members of both parties, were vetted and discussed in committee and ultimately refined into one bill.
SB493, which was sent to the House for consideration on Wednesday, is intended to reduce the number of students transferring out of their home districts. Additionally, the bill creates more local options for students in failing districts while protecting the sending and receiving districts by offering high-quality options close to home.
Over the course of two and a half days of debate, the Senate tackled the issue directly and in a manner that holds districts accountable without placing additional financial burdens on the state.
As is the case with every bill that passes out of the senate, SB493 is the product of discussion and compromise by both sides of the aisle and by those representing both rural and urban school districts. What SB493 looks like today is not what it will look like at the end of the session.
It is my desire to continue working to address this important issue in a manner that first and foremost does what is best for students. This is a good first step.
On Tuesday, I was pleased to file for the opportunity to continue representing you in the Missouri Senate. I am humbled by the trust and confidence you have placed in me for the last four years, and I look forward to continuing to work to earn and maintain your trust.
Finally, next week marks the beginning of fish-fry season. My waistline has not recovered from last year (or the year before for that matter), but I look forward to joining many of you across the district in the coming weeks to celebrate Lent with good food and good fellowship.
My purpose and my intent is to serve the constituents of the 6th Senatorial District. If you are in the capitol during the coming weeks and months, please stop by your office in Room 220.
State Sen. Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, represents the 6th District.