Greetings from the fourth floor of your Missouri Capitol.
Summer is here. Once again, we had a short spring, but with temperatures, topping the 90s, summer is on us with a vengeance. Get out and enjoy this beautiful weather, but use precaution by applying sunscreen and be sure to hydrate often.
This past two weeks have been busy both inside and outside the District. A little over a week ago, Rep. Tim Remole, Rep. Chuck Basye and Sen. Cindy O'Laughlin and I visited Marceline to look at a hospital the city is willing to donate to the Veterans Commission to repurpose into a Veterans Home. This is an offer that had been made over three years ago. Remole mentioned this to me at the end of our session, and I asked him to schedule a visit with their community leaders. One of the main reasons this is a great opportunity is because of the distance between the two Veterans Homes in Mexico and Cameron. It is over an hour and half drive from those veterans who live in Northern Missouri to either of the existing Veterans Homes. This hospital was built in 1964 and could be renovated at a fraction of the cost to build a new Veterans Home. The hospital has approximately 125 beds, which will conform to the Veterans Commission's guidelines, and each room would be private, also meeting the new guidelines. Being able to have your loved ones close to you when the time comes for them to enter a skilled nursing facility is important, and having a Veterans Home in north-central Missouri would be an answer for many families and veterans in that area.
I'm going to work with the Veterans Commission to see if this is even an option and possibly even work on a public/private partnership to make this work. I will keep you informed as to our progress, and if you have suggestions, please reach out to my office.
Over the past week, my office was made aware of a new program called the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program. This program is only available in certain counties, and Cole County is one of those participating in the "Farm to Family" program. Here is the link to more information: agriculture.mo.gov/abd/fmkt/pdf/sfmnp-customer-flyer.pdf.
As part of the Missouri Department of Agriculture's senior's farmers market program, this is a great program linking farmers and consumers to healthy Mid-Missouri produce products. There's nothing like fresh tomatoes and onions from the garden and supporting local farmers at the same time.
Last week, I volunteered for the United Way in the "We've got Milk" free milk give away. At Hamilton Towers on Jackson Street, more than 3,800 gallons of milk were given away throughout the day — that included to residents of the apartments as well as day cares and families with lots of children. There was a milk giveaway in California this past week and another at the Boys & Girls Club. With COVID-19 impacting so many agricultural programs, this is a very responsible way of distributing products rather than dumping it on the ground as is happening in many other states. Thank you to Graves Menu Maker for making this possible through a grant from the USDA, which is part of the Farm to Family program. Menu Maker is authorized to give away six truckloads a day over a six-week period. Each truck will hold 3,888 gallons of milk. This program will continue for the next several weeks throughout Mid-Missouri. Locations of the next giveaway can be found by calling our local United Way or visit their calendar at www.unitedwaycemo.org/calendar.
Finally, I am scheduled to be on a statewide elected officials census briefing late in the week. This briefing will provide census operational updates and support as our timeline unfolds through non-response follow-up operations. This briefing will allow offices of elected officials across the Chicago Region's eight states the opportunity to ask pressing questions and share concerns from trusted voices on the ground. I will let you know of any new information that is forthcoming from this call in my next column.
Things have been quiet around the Capitol Building, but it was great to hear from the Capitol Commission that work on the building is almost 90 percent complete. It is great to finally see the dome as you enter town. This project had a completion date of December 2020, so we are moving ahead of schedule, and this part of the Capitol Complex is looking great.
Our office is open Monday through Friday and taking your calls to help you with concerns or questions. I'd like to give a big thanks to my legislative assistant, Holly Foster, for her help in facilitating the many calls and correspondence we receive. Thank you again for your support and confidence in me and our office.
State Rep. Dave Griffith, R-Jefferson City, represents Missouri's 60th District, and shares his perspective on statehouse issues twice a month.