Setting the Tone for the 2019 Legislative Session
On Wednesday, Jan. 16, the governor delivered his annual State of the State Address to members of the Missouri General Assembly. Each year, the governor’s speech serves as the unofficial start to the legislative session. During this year’s address, the governor laid out his legislative agenda for the upcoming year. His speech focused on two main issues: workforce development and improving our state’s infrastructure. I believe these two issues are critically important to moving our state forward.
As I travel throughout our communities, employers have told me that the No. 1 issue they face is the lack of skilled workers available to meet the demands of today’s technology-driven economy. As part of his legislative agenda, the governor proposed three specific job training programs that aim to provide advanced job training in high-demand areas through our state’s colleges and universities. In order to succeed in today’s rapidly evolving economy, I believe our state must encourage employers to provide advanced training to their employees. It is vital to our state’s success that we create a culture of collaboration between industry and education, a partnership where our state’s world-class educational institutions are working with our state’s businesses, big and small, to prepare our state’s workforce to succeed in today’s ever-changing economy. As we move forward, I am excited to learn more about the governor’s plan to create a 21st century workforce, one that is ready to meet the challenges and needs of our ever-changing economy.
In addition to promoting economic development tools and new job training programs, the governor announced his support for a local transportation cost share program. I believe this program will be an important tool for many of our state’s cities and counties because it will provide the needed funding to complete vital infrastructure projects in our local communities. The governor also discussed the need to reorganize and streamline state government. I am excited to learn more about his plans to make state government more efficient, and I hope the savings generated by these measures will be used to provide a modest pay increase to our talented and diligent state employees.
As I sat in the majestic House chamber and listened to the governor’s plan for 2019, I was filled with hope and inspiration. He painted a picture of a better tomorrow. A picture that provides all Missourians with the tools they need to succeed. I have served with our governor in both the Missouri House of Representatives and in the Missouri Senate, and I know him to be a humble man, one who leads with honor and integrity. During his time in office, he has been a breath of fresh air, and I look forward to continue working with him to make our great state a better place to live, work and raise a family.
In addition to Wednesday’s State of the State Address, senators also received their committee appointments for the upcoming legislative session. I am proud and humbled by the opportunity to once again chair the Senate’s Professional Registration Committee. I believe this committee serves an extremely important function because it oversees much of the work done by our state’s boards and commissions. In addition, I will also be serving on the following committees: Administration; Appropriations; Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy and the Environment (vice-chair); Gubernatorial Appointments; and Seniors, Families and Children. I look forward to serving on each of these committees, and I am committed to working with my colleagues to ensure that the legislation heard in these committees is in the best interests of all Missourians.
Finally, this week I was named to the Children’s Trust Fund Board of Directors. This organization is dedicated to preventing child abuse and neglect in Missouri. Our children are our future, and I am honored to be a part of this organization. The safety of all Missouri children is one of my top priorities as an elected official. Through commonsense solutions, I believe we can protect our state’s children and provide law enforcement and state officials with the tools they need to identify and stop child abuse and neglect.
It is an honor and a privilege to be your State Senator, and my door is always open to your concerns, questions or comments. Please feel free to contact me at (573) 751-2757 or visit my web page at www.senate.mo.gov/riddle.