For the past 14 years, I have had the great honor and privilege of serving in the Missouri General Assembly. During that time, I have been blessed to work alongside many dedicated public servants, and I have proudly watched as legislation I sponsored became law. However, it has been the countless opportunities I have had to interact with Missouri’s citizens for which I am most thankful.
I have especially enjoyed meeting with our young people, describing my work as a lawmaker, answering their questions about government and, of course, always stressing the importance of education. Therefore, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am using one of my last weekly columns as a state senator to thank someone who helped me become the best public servant I could be — Mr. Jack Harry.
Those of you who grew up in the Kansas City area are likely familiar with the name. Before retiring in June 2015, the very popular Jack Harry spent 40 years working as a television sports broadcaster. Around 1980, while a student at Central Missouri State University, I took a broadcast journalism class. We were given an assignment to talk to a television broadcaster and get their input on the profession. Since I liked sports and watched KCMO, now KCTV, I decided to contact their sports broadcaster, Jack Harry.
I first contacted Mr. Harry right after their 10 p.m. broadcast and was told to call the next day for an interview. And sure enough, just as he promised, he was there to take my call. He could not have been nicer, taking the time to answer all my questions. I was impressed by his generosity and willingness to share his time with a college student he had never met. It was after meeting Jack Harry that I promised myself I would always make time to answer young people’s questions if I was ever in the position to be asked.
Over the years, I have tried my best to keep that promise. I have visited with thousands of students, including elementary, junior and senior high school, college, masters and even doctoral students. Whether I was answering questions for their school papers, reports or stories they were writing about the Legislature, I enjoyed every conversation.
I have always felt it is my job as an elected official to be available and to help people in their educational endeavors. I am honored that students have sought my opinion, but I am more grateful for having understood the value and importance of engaging with our young citizens — the future leaders of our great state. And I owe it all to a sports broadcaster who took the time to visit with a young college student he would never come in contact with again. Thank you Mr. Harry.
In closing, I wish to thank all my constituents for granting me the privilege of serving you in the Legislature. I truly am grateful for the trust you have placed in me over the last 14 years. I sincerely hope you and your loved ones have a very safe and happy Thanksgiving.
As always, please feel free to contact me or my staff with any questions or concerns at any time. We look forward to hearing your comments and suggestions and trying to answer any questions you may have. You can reach us by phone at 866-277-0882 (toll-free) or (573) 751-2272, or by fax at (573) 526-7381.
Senator David Pearce serves Caldwell, Carroll, Howard, Johnson, Lafayette, Livingston, Ray and Saline counties in the 21st State Senatorial District.