The Missouri Senate was not in session this past week due to weather. With temperatures in the single digits and below, and a blanket of snow covering most of the state, our Senate leadership made the decision that keeping legislators and staff home was the wisest choice. We return to Jefferson City next week to continue our work.
With no legislative activity this week, my thoughts go to the family of a son of southeast Missouri. Rush Limbaugh passed away this week at the age of 70. It’s impossible to overstate the influence Rush had on America’s political landscape, or on my own interest in government and public policy. My first introduction to politics was via Rush Limbaugh back in the early ’90s. In fact, the first time my husband, Ray, found himself sleeping on the couch was due to an argument we had over Rush’s views! My early resistance eased as I started listening to his radio program. I realized Rush was for the same things I believed in: hard work and personal responsibility.
It’s likely that no other single American deserves more credit for the rise of conservatism in America than Rush. I and so many other Americans learned to love the ideals of America while listening to Rush on the radio. For three hours every day, Rush entertained and educated his 27 million listeners on more than 600 radio stations. His program – the highest-rated talk show in America – resurrected AM radio and inspired countless imitators, though no one ever equaled him.
Rush came from a storied family. His grandfather, Rush Limbaugh Sr., was an attorney who argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and practiced law almost until his death at age 104. The federal courthouse in Cape Girardeau is named after him. Rush’s uncle is a federal judge, as his cousin. Early on, Rush Limbaugh III was thought of as the black sheep of the family – something he was never shy about discussing on the radio. He dropped out of college and bounced from job to job, following his passion for radio. Rush found his voice when he began discussing political topics on-air, first in Sacramento, Calif., and then in New York City. With the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, which demanded equal time for opposing political views, Rush was turned loose and allowed to hold court on the day’s events. The rest is history.
Rush always said he had a “talent on loan from God.” He defined the conservative movement that has also redefined politics in southeast Missouri. To honor his legacy, I will be sponsoring legislation to memorialize the day of his birth as “Rush Limbaugh Memorial Day”. I could not be more proud of this man and his career, and what it has meant for the conservative movement here, and throughout the United States.
THANKS TO OUR UTILITIES
I didn’t want this week to pass without a shout out to our local electricity providers. As I watched news coverage of the widespread blackouts in Texas, I wondered if the same thing could happen here. Fortunately, it didn’t. Early in the week, some of the local electric cooperatives prepared their members for the possibility of rolling blackouts. The extreme measure might be necessary, they said, to prevent the system from becoming overloaded. Instead, our community responded. We dialed back our thermostats, turned off lights and limited the use of major appliances. Our system held and no rolling blackouts were required. Meanwhile, hardy linemen braved sub-zero wind chills to tackle localized weather-related outages as they occurred.
The stories coming out of Texas remind us of the things we take for granted. God had mercy on us here, but our utility providers did their part, too. I am so thankful for our local electric cooperatives, the municipal utilities and the large power companies that kept the lights on through the bitter cold spell we just endured. Thanks for a job well done!
I always appreciate hearing your comments, opinions and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-2459. You may write me at Holly Rehder, Missouri Senate, State Capitol, Rm 433, Jefferson City, MO 65101, send an email to Holly.Rehder@senate.mo.gov or visit www.senate.mo.gov/Rehder.