Legislative Column for the Week of Monday, March 31, 2014

Learning in the Capitol, Part II

Hello 8th District. My name is Daniel Duffeck, and I have been interning part-time for Sen. Will Kraus since January. This internship has been immensely exciting and rewarding, and I am more than happy to share with you what I have experienced so far.

To give you some background information about myself, I am currently finishing my senior year at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where I will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology this May. Along with taking classes and interning at the Capitol, I have also been volunteering part-time at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Columbia, so it has been quite an eventful semester. Upon graduation, I plan to attend law school in pursuit of becoming a lobbyist on behalf of veterans’ mental health rights.

I was able to attain this internship with the 8th District office through the University of Missouri’s Civic Leaders Internship Program (CLIP), which supports undergraduate students who desire an opportunity to serve the state of Missouri through internships in publicly funded offices. I have always had strong interest in politics, and since my years as an undergrad student have led me to a desire a career in law, this internship has been a perfect opportunity for me to gain applicable skills and knowledge for my future professional goals.

During my internship at the Capitol, I have been able to attend a broad range of events, such as hearings, debates, and conventions. In particular, it has been fascinating to witness first-hand the process bills undergo in order to become a law. A bill’s journey to law begins with a committee hearing. If passed through committee, it is then debated in both the House and the Senate, and finally, if passed through both chambers, it must then be approved and signed into law by the governor. During committee hearings, it is interesting to see our state officials provide information on the details and implications of their proposed legislation, and to hear input from witnesses and the committee. Both groups bring up points of contention, support, and inquiry regarding the bill. It is also exhilarating to see legislation openly debated on the floor, during which senators and representatives adamantly defend their bills in the face of opposition, often resulting in heated discussion. To see such intense spirit and dedication from our elected officials is humbling, and has provided me with a new appreciation for this process.

In addition to direct exposure to the bill process, I also enjoy the lively atmosphere in the office I am lucky enough to call work. With Sen. Kraus’ ever-open door and warm hospitality, our office is almost constantly bustling with constituents and state officials wanting to discuss particular issues, ask questions or just simply stop by and say hello. Through my presence in the office, I have been able to significantly expand my knowledge of public policy and constituent needs. It is amazing how deep understanding and awareness of a subject can become through personal interaction.

Working alongside Sen. Kraus’ staff has been invaluable for my experience as an intern. They have taken it upon themselves to thoroughly orient me with the specific processes of government and the inner workings of the Capitol. Senator Kraus has also played a huge role in educating me on state policy, and it is truly inspiring to see his passion and commitment toward legislation on behalf of his constituents and all Missourians. It has been a privilege to intern for this office, and I will certainly incorporate what I have learned from my experience here throughout my professional life.

Senate Memorial Service

On April 14, 2014, the 97th General Assembly will host a Memorial Service for the distinguished former senators who have passed away since May 1987. It will be the first time in nearly 30 years an event like this has been held. Together, with the families of the former senators, we will celebrate the lawmakers’ lives and legacies and remember their dedicated service.

This event serves to honor not only those men and women who served in the upper chamber, but also their family members who gave their love and support to make their relatives’ time in Jefferson City possible. Each former senator will be recognized by a roll call and a rose presented to the family. Family members will be invited to a reception immediately following the ceremony.

From the 8th District, we will be honoring three former members. Each one has left a legacy behind, and we will convey our respect to that legacy on behalf of the great state of Missouri.

Floyd R. Gibson

1910 – 2001

8th Senate District (1947-1961)

Floyd R. Gibson served the people of the 8th District (part of Jackson County). Born in Prescott, Arizona, he moved to Jackson County in 1914, received his education from Kansas City elementary and high schools, and graduated from the University of Missouri with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1931; and a Bachelor of Laws degree in 1933. Senator Gibson practiced law in Jackson County starting in 1933. He served as county counselor of Jackson County. Senator Gibson also served as a major in the Third Missouri Infantry in the Missouri State Guard. He was elected to the House in 1940, 1942 and 1944. Senator Gibson was elected to the Senate in 1946, and re-elected in 1950, 1954 and 1958. He served as Majority Floor Leader in the 67th and 68th General Assemblies, and was elected President Pro Tem of the Senate in the 69th and 70th General Assemblies. Senator Gibson resigned from his service in the Senate and was appointed to serve as judge on the U.S. District Court, Western District, in 1961. (Democrat)

Donald L. Manford

1934 – 1991

8th Senate District (1968-1978)

Donald L. Manford served the people of the 8th District (part of Jackson County). Born in Kansas City, he received his education from Kansas City public schools; and University of Kansas City, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and government and a Bachelor of Laws degree. Senator Manford was an attorney and served in the U.S. Navy from 1952-1956 during the Korean War. Senator Manford was elected to the House of Representatives in 1966 and to the Senate in 1968 to fill an unexpired term. He was re-elected in 1970 and 1974. (Democrat)

James M. Taylor

1920 – 2013

8th Senate District (1962-1966)

James M. Taylor served the people of the 8th District (part of Jackson County). Born in Pleasant Hill, he received his education from Kansas City public schools. In 1945, he began work in sales for the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States. Senator Taylor served two and a half years in the U.S. Air Force; six of those months with the 15th Air Force in Italy as a navigator. He was discharged as a captain. In a special election held in 1962, Sen. Taylor was elected to the Senate to fill an unexpired term. He was re-elected later that year. (Republican)

Please feel free to contact me 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 573-751-1464, or e-mail at will.kraus@senate.mo.gov.