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As you are aware, the election is near. Your mailboxes are full. Your emails are full. Your phone rings off the hook, and we are seeing so much political propaganda that we want to just close the door, shut off our phones and not think about it.

This month, we had the Gold Star Families Memorial celebration at the Capitol. The Gold Star Monument Committee is working on building a Gold Star monument at the Capitol adjacent to the Veterans Memorial. On Saturday, Russellville held a Gold Star Memorial recognition for the soldiers they have lost. These are just a few of the events to remind us of the sacrifices our forefathers and their family members have given for us to enjoy the freedom that we have. These are reminders that with this freedom comes our obligation to try to stay informed as to the candidates, the issues, and, most importantly, to vote. Recognizing some people cannot make it in to vote, for those of us who can and simply choose not to, you are telling those who have fought and died for our country, and their families, that their efforts are not appreciated.

The Constitution grants us many rights. Those rights have to be protected or they will be taken away from us by government just as all other forms of government before us have refused to respect or taken away individual rights. We must diligently work to elect officials whose beliefs are consistent with ours and who value the freedoms we have. Voting is not a privilege nor a right, it is an obligation that we have to those who came before us and those who will come after us to preserve the freedoms that so many have fought and died for protecting.

Our parents used to comment, "I don't know what this world is coming to," and I still don't know what this world is coming to, but I do know that if we remain passive and do nothing, those with a hunger for power will take it. They will then promote their own agenda and not the agenda of the general public.

Life at the Capitol has not stopped. There are caucus campaigns going on. There are discussions on bills to be drafted and introduced. There are representatives and senators out discussing their bills and drafting bills that they believe are in the best interests of the public and are well vetted.

The House and the Senate remind me of a courtroom battle. Lawsuits are not won in the courtroom. They are won in preparation and before you get to court. The courtroom itself is where it all comes together, and it cannot come together if the homework and preparations are not done beforehand. The same is true in our state's Congress. While the legislative session is still some time away, now is the time when we put in the work that determines what will win and lose when the session comes. I want to commend the senators and representatives I see already working on legislation.

The next session will probably be one of the most challenging we've had in that we still have to deal with COVID-19. We are going to have to address the budgetary issues coming in the wake of COVID, and I don't think we are going to be able to rely upon the federal government well of wealth. We must balance our budget and at the same time provide certain basic needs.

We must also address our infrastructure, which is going to require us to look at a source of long-term revenue for our highways and bridges. I do not want to come across as someone who believes in raising taxes, but I do believe we have basic needs that we must provide. The only thing I hate worse than raising taxes is not raising them and passing debt down to our children, and that is what we are doing when we continue to kick the can down the road.

I hope each of you has taken the time to lay down your newspaper, turn off your radio and enjoy the beautiful fall weather. As always, your input is the best information that I can obtain on how to do my job, and as such, I always welcome your calls and emails. Thank you.

State Rep. Rudy Veit, R-Jefferson City, represents Missouri's 59th District and shares his perspective on statehouse issues twice a month.

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