It is an interesting experience at the Capitol. My experience can be described as a kid who walked in a candy store and saw all this wonderful candy. As he started tasting the candy, he realized some of it is really good, some were less than pleasant and some didn’t taste well at all, but it is still a great and challenging place to work.
It was great to hear the budget has a pay raise for state employees and a separate pay system for the Department of Corrections, all of which are long overdue and well deserved. The challenge now is that if the revenue projections are off and we need to cut the budget, we need to make sure we don’t use them as our easy target. These pay increases are not near enough to bring our state workers’ pay up to a level comparable to other states and other jobs, but it is a step in that direction. It is so great to have a governor who knows the value of state workers and is willing to do something about it.
Progress has been made on the port authority bill. It passed through committee but now the challenge is to get it on the floor to be heard. This port is not for short-term thinkers, it is for those who realize that, in the future, roads are going to be much more expensive, energy is going to continue to increase in cost, and rivers will be the most efficient way to move large volumes of commodities. Keep in mind, one barge holds more than 13 train car loads or 58 large semis. With our population growth and growth in commodities, we are going to have to make serious infrastructure development at a huge cost. I don’t see it in our budget to start another I-70 or some road project of that magnitude to relieve traffic. The rivers, I believe, are the future expressways for carrying large volumes of commodities. It will also bring considerable expansion to the Jefferson City area. There is other land that can be developed for other commercial uses in the area. There are not many locations in the state where we have a road, river and railroad that allow for the sufficient development of a port and other land nearby which can be developed as well.
Our parents gave us I-70; it is time we start thinking, what we are giving our children.
Switching gears, I have received quite a few contacts about my vote on certain issues, and I appreciate those contacts so I can talk to you and explain why I voted for something, which on first appearance, you might think is questionable. When you have these questions, certainly call, because there are many votes that are tough votes. There are parts of a bill I like or there can be a good bill starting out but with the amendments tacked on it, it has certain parts that many of us find challenging. Thanks to all of you who have stopped by giving me your opinions or brought children or groups by to enlighten me.
I want to give a special thanks to the Blair Oaks football team, that serves as a reminder of what hard work and perseverance can accomplish. They were inspired by the dedication of their coaches, parents, teachers and the people in the community by the support they received at their games. Because of this support, they are the Class 2A State Champion. I had the honor of presenting them with a House Resolution, and they were honored on both the House and Senate floors. I want to end by also congratulating the school district on the great support they received on passing both of its ballot issues last week in the election. It is great to see the community supporting the future of its children.
State Rep. Rudy Veit, R-Jefferson City, represents the 59th District, and shares his perspective on statehouse issues twice a month.