The 2016 Legislative Session is nearing an end, but there are still many important issues before the Senate. I am still working hard on my proposal for the much-needed revenue for our transportation infrastructure. I am grateful for all the visitors who came by to visit myself and my staff from the 25th District. I was able to meet with many local organizations and officials, and I am very grateful for their involvement in their communities.
In March, I was able to meet with Sara Gerau and Kate Struttman with American Red Cross, Darlene Shelton with Gateway Hemophilia Association, Carlos Vargas with SEMO State University, Bob Bonney and Herman Styles with the MO Restaurant Association, Randy Schulz and John Pautz with Cotrell Funeral Services, and Steve Bush with SEMO Transportation. I also enjoyed visiting with Chris Riley from ADM, in New Madrid, in my office as we discussed economic development in our region. The Capitol hosts many legislative days and many of the 25th District’s local organizations take this time to make the trip to Jefferson City. Jim Harlan and Marty Michel both came to Jefferson City for the Missouri Pharmacy Association Day. The Missouri State Teachers Association held their event and Belinda Birrer and Shaelynn Nordwald were in attendance and stopped by my office. It was a pleasure to see George Bays, Recorder of Deeds, here for their legislative day. Joetta Martin from Poplar Bluff also visited for Missouri Hospital Association’s legislative day. A big “thank you” to everyone who takes the time to drop by my office and say hello.
The Missouri Beer Wholesalers Association also had their legislative day in March, and I enjoyed seeing Kathy Holloway and Chris Shrum attending and representing from their respective companies in Southeast Missouri.
In April, many constituents of my district stopped by to visit, including Cameron Redd and a group of steel workers from Portageville to discuss labor legislation. I was able to introduce Nick and Lisa Caldwell to the Senate in the chamber and enjoyed meeting with them for EMS Day. Bob Abrams was also in Jefferson City for the EMS Day on April 5. It was a pleasure to meet with
Claudia Preuschoff and Shanna Hayes, both constituents from Poplar Bluff, and Racheal Baker, from Dexter. Also, Barrett Smith came all the way from Dallas, Texas, to meet with me as he is with Trinity Marine Products located in Caruthersville. Chris Rushin, Robbie Toth and Amy Baugus from the Boys & Girls Club of Poplar Bluff came to visit and I was able to present Jonathon Gordon with a resolution for being chosen as a finalist in the Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year.
On April 20, the Missouri Rice Council had their annual Rice Day. Rice Day is one of the favorite events in the Capitol. All elected officials and staff were invited to attend the luncheon to enjoy the rice grown in Southeast Missouri.
My office also hosted and helped sponsor a field trip for almost 50 students and a few chaperones from multiple schools in the 25th District. I had students from Caruthersville, Charleston, Hayti and S. Pemiscot attend this year. We had two action packed days, which included a tour of the Supreme Court Building and the Missouri State Highway Patrol Academy and Museum.
Steve Halter and the Poplar Bluff Chamber of Commerce Leadership group also visited Jefferson City as part of their program. Kristopher Rolland from Polar Bluff also visited and shared his thoughts with me about some of the different legislation we are debating.
Additionally, I have been privileged to talk with many other schools from the 25th District visiting the Capitol. East Carter, Van Buren and New Madrid had students here for Farm Bureau’s Leadership Day. Holcomb and Caruthersville also had their 4th graders visit the Capitol during their annual field trip.
Along with my field representative Billy Pat Wright, I attended the Missouri Corn Growers District 7 Crawfish Boil hosted by Jim Stuever in Dexter. It was a nice evening of fellowship, visiting with friends and talking about the upcoming planting season. Billy Pat also represented our office at the Kennett and Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce banquets. I also visited the American Legion Hall in Kennett and presented an American and Missouri flag.
My good friends the Spargo family also hosted their annual Spring fish fry in Neelyville to celebrate the beginning of their planting season too. Congressman Jason Smith and I also attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the hospital and ER expansion at Black River Medical Center.
I was honored to be able to give a resolution to Captain George E. Ridens for his retirement from Troop E of the Missouri State Highway Patrol on March 31. After his 35 years of service, a well-deserved retirement is appropriate.
On April 1, I attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the New Libla Family Sports Complex at Three Rivers College in Poplar Bluff. This was a victory celebration for the completion of the “Changing Lives, Building Futures” capital campaign. The success of the capital campaign could not have been done without the help of the approximately 400 donors, Endowment Trust and Board of Trustees members, Dr. Wes Payne, Coach Gene Bess, and all other coaches, administration, teachers and support staff. We had a great day at this celebration.
Poplar Bluff held the Annual Badge of Honor Benefit Run, which took place on April 2. The idea for the event was the product of a cooperative effort of community law enforcement leaders whose goal was to raise money for three charitable groups: The MASTERS, The BackStoppers and the Fraternal Order of Police.
On April 18 at Three Rivers College, I held a downtown development meeting to help connect community leaders with opportunities to enhance their beautiful cities. We had a great turnout and the meeting was very informative.
I was honored to be able to present a Senate resolution to the Westwood Baptist Academy girls’ basketball program whose team took FIRST place at the Missouri Christian School Athletic Association Class 2A State Championship. Coached by Josh Hawley and Tom Graham, they are excited that every player is eligible to return to the team next year. I enjoyed visiting with the team and staff and look forward to attending some games next season.
My wife Elaine and I enjoyed the Dogwood-Azalea Festival on April 16 in Charleston. This was their 48th festival; it was great to see so many people show up and demonstrate their pride for their community. My good friend Scott Matthews was in the parade with his 1951 Jeep.
I had the honor to tour the Stars and Stripes Museum in Bloomfield along with Congressman Jason Smith. Many volunteers work hard to keep the men and women of our armed forces history so beautifully displayed for all to see. Many have lost their lives or sustained injuries to keep us safe and free.
On April 29, I was again honored to be able to present a well-earned resolution for the retirement of Deputy Chief Jeff Rolland from the Poplar Bluff Police Department. Jeff Rolland has dedicated the last 26 years to his public safety career.