Senator Justin Brown’s Legislative Column for Dec. 27, 2019

Happy New Year

Black-eyed peas. Funny hats and noise-makers. Fireworks. Champagne. A kiss for our sweetheart at midnight. Singing “Auld Lang Syne.” These are just a few of the ways that Americans ring in the New Year.

In the Philippines, windows and doors are flung open wide so the old year can depart. In Spain, it’s a tradition to eat 12 grapes, one for each month of the year, as the clock strikes midnight. In Denmark, people stand on a chair and leap into January. Folks in Colombia walk around the block at midnight, carrying an empty suitcase in hopes that a year of travel will follow. Russians write down a wish for the New Year, burn the paper and consume the ashes in a glass of champagne.

However you choose to celebrate New Year’s Eve, I hope you can look back on 2019 as a year full of happy memories. Not everyone is so fortunate, I know. If the past year has brought tears and hardship, I hope better things come your way in 2020.

Perhaps the most meaningful New Year’s tradition is the practice of making resolutions. Turning the page on the calendar provides an opportunity for each of us to take stock of our life, consider the choices we’ve made and evaluate our path forward. It’s a time to express appreciation for our blessings, convey our love to friends and family and vow to be the best we can be. Whether we resolve to lose the extra weight, spend more time with our kids or finally clean out the garage, a little self-reflection never hurt anyone.

In my case, I look forward to another opportunity to serve my neighbors as a member of the Missouri Senate. The start of the 2020 legislative session is barely a week away, and already we see themes taking shape for the next year. It appears that education, infrastructure and economic development will again take center stage. There are also calls to address the violence plaguing our cities and do something to keep rising property taxes in check. Health care will certainly be a topic that merits much discussion.

Whatever the issue, I resolve to keep your best interests at heart as I consider legislation before the Senate. Lawmakers see many ideas cross our desks each year. Some are better than others. My job, as your senator, is to evaluate these proposals and decide which represent the best solutions for Missouri and the proper use of limited taxpayers’ resources. I can’t do this alone. I need your help. I encourage you to pay attention to what we’re doing in Jefferson City and share your thoughts with me and my staff. Send me e-mails, write letters, call on the phone, visit my Capitol office or stop me when you see me in the district. Let me know what you think.

My colleagues and I in the Legislature truly do strive to make the lives of Missouri citizens better. I believe that the good economic news we’ve heard lately is a sign that some of the measures we passed in 2019 accomplished that. I’d like to see that continue in 2020. Together, we can make that happen.

Legislators return to the Capitol in about a week. Until then, I hope you all have a safe and joyous New Year’s.

It’s my honor to serve as your senator for the 16th District. If you have questions or need any assistance, please call my office at 573-751-5713 or log onto my webpage at for more information.