Missouri Welcomes New State Leaders
Thousands of Missourians from across the state made their way to Jefferson City this week to join in the festivities as the state welcomed its new statewide officials. During the November elections Missourians elected Republicans to fill the statewide positions on the ballot.
On Monday, Missourians saw Eric Greitens sworn in as the 56th governor of Missouri. Joining him as statewide office holders are Mike Parson, who was sworn in as Lieutenant Governor; Jay Ashcroft, who takes over as Secretary of State; Josh Hawley, who is Missouri’s new Attorney General; and Eric Schmitt, who will now serve as the State Treasurer. They join Nicole Galloway, who currently serves as State Auditor. Galloway is the only Democrat currently holding one of the six statewide posts in the executive branch, and was appointed to the position following the passing of Tom Schweich.
House members participated in events throughout the day including an interfaith prayer service and a ceremony to recognize Missouri’s heroes. Those in attendance for the salute to heroes heard from the mother of a Navy SEAL who was killed in Afghanistan. She talked about the heroism of veterans and the importance of patriotism. Greitens talked to the crowd about the importance of recognizing the efforts of the best representatives of the Missouri people.
After being sworn into office, Greitens delivered a short address where he talked about the need to work together to move Missouri forward. As he told a crowd of thousands, “For decades, Missourians have talked about change. Now it’s time to fight for that change.” He added, “Our state’s world famous motto, ‘Show me’, reminds us that Missourians don’t much value big talk. Our state’s great history reminds us that Missourians have always understood that big achievements demand hard work. ‘Show me’ doesn’t mean ‘Give me.’ It means ‘prove it can be done, and we will do it.’”
Greitens followed his speech by issuing an executive order banning lobbyist gifts for executive branch officials. The order also prohibits employees in the governor’s office from leaving their jobs to become lobbyists.
House Gives Initial Approval to Gift Ban (HB 60)
A state House proposal aimed at banning gifts from lobbyists to elected officials received first round approval from the Missouri House of Representatives Thursday. HB 60 is nearly identical to a gift ban proposal filed in 2016, which was passed out of the House with 147 votes in favor.
House Bill 60 is meant to help restore the public’s trust in elected officials by limiting the influence of lobbyists. As the sponsor said about the bill, “We are trying to eliminate the undue influence of lobbyists on legislators in the building. That is the individually, personally consumable gifts from lobbyists to legislators. These are the one-on-one dinners; these are the press boxes at sporting events in the state. That’s what we’re trying to limit.”
Blackwell Interchange Construction Update
Tuesday, MoDot met with members of the Eastern Jackson Citizens group at the Prairie Township Fire station with the fire chief in attendance. After discussing the road closures and construction, MoDot has decided to implement a revised plan.
The revised plan will be the following: The access at 50 and Smart Rd will be closed. The closure and physical removal will start on Monday January 16th. Smart Rd traffic will use the new south outer road, and access 50 at Harris Rd, or continue to Hwy 7, or chose another route altogether. Harris Rd, and Milton Thompson access will remain until the outer road connection to the new Blackwell interchange ramps is in place. Entrances that are currently closed (like at the cemetery) will remain closed and be removed starting next week. Emergency services will be accommodated.
MoDot stressed that their number one priority is to protect the safety of all motorists traveling through their work zones. The Smart Rd intersection has been changed significantly, and can no longer function safely as intended, stated by MoDot. MoDot argues that it needs to be closed and feels this will address most of the concerns that they heard Tuesday, and still provide for safe travel as they complete the work.
I want to make sure that you know that my door is always open to you if you have any questions, concerns or comments. You are always welcome to visit, call or email me. My office telephone number is 573-751-1456.