Connecting with the District
The Missouri Legislature meets from early January through mid-May. It’s a busy five months for elected officials, as we travel each week from our homes around the state to Jefferson City for four days of committee hearings, floor debate and other legislative activities. Each year, we take one week off for a mid-term break. The fast-paced nature of the legislative session doesn’t leave much time to connect with the hard-working people back home, so I was determined to spend this year’s recess visiting with folks in the district.
I truly enjoyed these visits and am grateful for the opportunity to hear about the priorities and concerns of the people I represent in the Senate. Spring recess provided the opportunity to have deeper conversations, without the time constraints that are so common among the hustle and bustle of the Capitol. Thank you to constituents who extended invitations to visit. I’d like to share just a few of the things I was able to accomplish this week.
I toured facilities of the Licking R-8 School District. There, I read to a first grade class, listened with awe as their award-winning choir sang and visited the agricultural mechanics shop. This program is right in line with the governor’s emphasis on workforce development. Students in the ag mechanics program can graduate with a welding certificate, which prepares them to head straight into good-paying jobs.
I also visited with residents of a senior living center in Licking. I’m really proud of how the community has come together to build this facility and support their seniors. I congratulate them for their efforts.
I met with elected officials throughout the district. In Texas County, I visited with the county clerk and county commissioners, and discussed transportation issues and other concerns. I also dropped in to see officials in Howell County, including the county clerk, commissioners and the county assessor. Through these discussions I gained more insight into the real-world impacts of legislative proposals to phase out personal property taxes. While I don’t like paying taxes, I remain concerned about shifting the burden to real property taxes, which would adversely affect our small businesses, farmers and homeowners. I remain hopeful that we can seek compromise on this important issue.
Health care issues were on the agenda as I met with Wes Murray, the CEO of Texas County Memorial Hospital, to learn how things were going at that facility and listen to his concerns. I also met with Josh Reeves, Director of Operations for Ozarks Medical Center in West Plains. Both hospital leaders shared concerns with various aspects of the Missouri’s Medicaid program and how it affects their bottom line.
I appreciated the invitation by Oregon County Farm Bureau to provide them an update about legislative activities at the State Capitol. The members expressed concerns about government ownership of land in the county and the impact that has on tax revenues and economic development.
With eight mostly rural counties, the 33rd Senatorial District is one of the largest legislative districts in Missouri. Stretching more than 150 miles from west to east, and as much as 75 miles from top to bottom, the district covers more than 6,300 square miles, or roughly 9 percent of Missouri’s total land. It’s not easy to get around the district to meet with everyone, but I will try my absolute best to see as many constituent groups as I can. If you have a specific request for a meeting, or a coffee shop conversation, please reach out to my office and we will do our best to schedule a visit as soon as possible.
It is my honor to serve the residents of Douglas, Howell, Oregon, Ozark, Ripley, Texas, Webster and Wright counties in the Missouri Senate, and it’s always a pleasure to hear from friends and family back home. If I can help you in any way, please call my Capitol Office at 573-751-1882, or my District Office at 417-596-9011. You can also visit my webpage at www.senate.mo.gov/mem33, on Facebook: @SenatorKarlaEslinger, or follow me on Twitter: @seneslingermo.