Legislative Column for the Week of March 5, 2015

Senator Schatz listening to a presentation at Ft. Leonard Wood on Monday, March 2.

JEFFERSON CITY — Sometimes, the most important things legislators do happen outside the Capitol. While we place a lot of importance on committees, bills, and debate, much of our work happens at home in our districts or around the state. This week, I attended two important events outside of the Capitol, one sad and one worrisome.

On Tuesday, I and much of the Capitol family attended the funeral of Auditor Tom Schweich. Auditor Schweich’s passing was a shock to our state and I want to devote some space to the impressive record of public service that he built throughout the years.

Tom Schweich served both his state and his nation with distinction. His first position in public service was as chief of staff to former United States Sen. John Danforth during Sen. Danforth’s investigation into the federal government’s actions during the Waco standoff. Auditor Schweich continued working with Sen. Danforth at the United Nations and later served in the Bush Administration as acting assistant Secretary of State at the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs and as an ambassador and coordinator for Counternarcotics and Justice Reform in Afghanistan.

Here in Missouri, Tom Schweich was elected as auditor in 2010 and rooted out wasteful spending and corruption across our state. Recently, he had launched audits into municipal courts in St. Louis County that were extracting excessive revenue from traffic stops and other infractions. He was such a successful auditor that he was essentially unchallenged in his reelection.

He is survived by his wife, Kathleen, and children, Emilie and Thomas. Please keep the Schweich family in your prayers.

On Monday evening, I joined many of my colleagues at Ft. Leonard Wood to show support for that community as they battle proposed force-reduction cuts that would take many jobs and military personnel from the community. All Missourians support the military, but the Ft. Leonard Wood community goes above and beyond in their support and they rallied leaders from all across the state to show support for keeping the force at Ft. Leonard Wood intact. The governor, both of our U.S. Senators, most of the state Senate, and many of the House of Representatives joined hundreds of community members at this meeting. While Ft. Leonard Wood is not in the 26th District, it is an important part of our state and our area, and Chara and I were glad to attend the meeting to show our support for this military installation and for the community.

Our work continues in the Capitol as well, but I wanted touch on how important the real world is outside of Jefferson City. I work diligently in the Senate, but I am always willing to go where I can show support or be of service for our community and our state. 

Thank you for reading this weekly column. Please contact my office at (573) 751-3678 if you have any questions.