Greetings from the fourth floor of your Missouri State Capitol. As I write this to you, the summer temperatures continue to hang around Mid-Missouri but cooler temperatures are on the way, according to our weather folks. I am from Missouri so you will have to "show me."
I have been busy visiting around the district with concerned citizens and stakeholders about issues from expired paper license tags to flood levies protecting our airport. If you have any issues that concern you, please reach out to my office.
I am proud to announce the speaker of the House has appointed me a part of the Task Force on Substance Abuse and Treatment. Speaker Elijah Haahr has done a great job of aligning representatives with issues they are passionate about. My concern over the opioid epidemic we are experiencing in our country is of great concern for me and many of my constituents.
Looking at how other states have approached the issue of substance abuse preventing and treatment is an incredible start and may provide some insight into how we approach this task force. Nevada's Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Agency's Bureau of Behavioral Health, Wellness and Prevention created a Strategic Plan for 2017-20.
This Missouri Task Force is still in the forming stages. In addition to state legislators and senators being appointed, the governor will be appointing citizens with the expertise in substance abuse, law enforcement, the judiciary, drug treatment and the health field.
I am honored and excited to serve on the task force, and when I have more information, I will share it with you then.
Over the past year, a group of Missourians has made a concerted effort to make Missouri the first POW-MIA state. This became a reality with a proclamation Sept. 20 at the Soldiers Memorial in St Louis on a day designated for POW-MIA recognition.
Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft delivered the keynote address. "Each of us owes the highest respect to our soldiers by honoring their courage and commitment, their service and sacrifice," Ashcroft said. "We must all continue to honor those who cannot be with us today so their lives will never be forgotten."
The event included Kathy Brown, a radio host in St. Louis and an Air Force veteran who served during the Vietnam War era and was one of the first "Singing Sergeants." Col. Grace Link, the executive director of the Missouri Veterans Commission, and Col. Brian Pearl, director of the Europe Mediterranean Region at the Defense POW-MIA Accounting Agency, traveled from Washington, D.C., to participate in this event. His agency works hard to keep the families and friends of those missing in action up to date with the most complete information on their missing loved ones.
In this next session, our General Assembly will make this official with legislation introduced by both Chambers to make Missouri a POW-MIA state. It already has made some headway, and I will be doing my part to make this a reality. Remembering our POWs and MIA brothers and sisters who never made it home is a duty of all Americans to help their families find the closure each deserves. Included in this ceremony was a local Mid-Missouri Marine, Lt. Bernie Plassmeyer, who has been missing in action over Vietnam since Sept. 11, 1970. The Plassmeyer family was presented with a replica model of an A4 Skyhawk flown by Plassmeyer. It is through efforts by families like the Plassmeyers that the message of "never forgotten" remains steadfast among not only Missourians but all of America. Let us never forget the sacrifice each of these men and women made for our country.
As always, it is an honor to serve as your state representative and if you have any questions or concerns please reach out to my office.
State Rep. Dave Griffith, R-Jefferson City, represents the 60th District, and shares his perspective on statehouse issues twice a month.