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24 December 2009

Holsman: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Holsman Holiday Card
To all our friends of diverse faiths, we wish you a Happy Hanukkah and a Joyous Kwanzamas!

Charlie Brown: Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?
Linus Van Pelt: Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about.

Lights, please.

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'"

Peace on Earth Good Will Toward Men

Merry Christmas!!

23 December 2009

Rupp: Christmas Spirit Reigns Despite Challenging Times

Christmastime is a very special time of year when we shop for gifts, plan our holiday gatherings, and celebrate the season with loved ones, co-workers and friends. It's also a time when we reflect on the past and the things we hold dear and remember the true reason for the Christmas season.

While the Christmas season is a joyous time of the year, I know this has been a difficult year for many as our economy still struggles to gain ground from the economic downturn of 2008. Those who are struggling may not be able to give as much as they would like to while some are wondering if they can give anything at all. I urge everyone in my district, if you are able, to give to your local charities to help make this season a little brighter for those who may need helping hand this season.

In 1982, when Ronald Reagan was president, he gave a Christmas address during a time when our nation was facing many of the same hardships and uncertainties of today. I think its sentiment still rings true today. In his address, President Reagan stated:

"In spite of everything, we Americans are still uniquely blessed, not only with the rich bounty of our land, but by a bounty of the spirit — a kind of year-round Christmas spirit that still makes our country a beacon a hope in a troubled world and that makes this Christmas and every Christmas even more special for all of us who number among our gifts the birthright of being an American."

As I reflect on what's important this holiday season, I am grateful for my family and friends and for the citizens of the 2nd District, who I am proud to serve.

I sincerely hope that you and yours have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

The legislative session begins Wednesday, January 6, 2010 at noon.  At that time I will be in Jefferson City every week Monday through Thursday and back in the district on Friday until session ends on May 14, 2010.  If you and/or your family are in Jefferson City at anytime, please feel free to drop by my office.  And, as always, if you have any questions about this week's column or any other matter involving state government, please do not hesitate to contact me. You can reach my office by phone at (866) 271-2844

Subscribe to Sen. Rupp's weekly reports via e-mail

Crowell: The Real Christmas Story

When many think of Christmas, images of hectic malls, children asking for gifts from Santa, and a decked-out Christmas tree come to mind.  It might even bring up memories of reading or watching the many "Christmas stories" on television and in books.  Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, Frosty the Snowman, and Dr. Suess' The Grinch Who Stole Christmas are some of the more common stories that come to mind.  These stories are fun and enjoyable, but they fail to mention the true meaning of the holiday and real story of Christmas.

The real Christmas story comes from the disciples Matthew and Luke.  It is through their voices that we can experience the birth of Christ.  These two writers provide us with all the details that give life to the annual celebration of the birth of our Lord.

"An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in he town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.' Suddenly, a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.'" – Luke 2:9-14

Remembering the true meaning of Christmas can be done in a variety of ways.  This might mean taking time to pray and read passages from the Bible with your family.  You may also choose to spread good will by volunteering.  The following locations in Southeast Missouri are a number of places in our community where we can do that:

Bollinger County:
Nutrition Center, 505 Third Street, Marble Hill, (573) 238-2809
Cape Girardeau County:
Missouri Veterans' Home, 2400 Veterans Memorial Drive, Cape Girardeau, (573) 290-5870
Salvation Army, 701 Good Hope, Cape Girardeau, (573) 335-7000
United Way, 430A Broadway, Cape Girardeau, (573) 334-9634
Madison County:
Sheltered Workshop, 425 N. Chamber, Fredericktown, (573) 783-4037
Mississippi County:
Retired Senior Volunteer Program through the East Prairie Chamber of Commerce, 106 S. Washington, East Prairie, (573)649-5243
Charleston Nutrition Center, 205 W. Commercial, Charleston, (573) 683-6115
Perry County:
East Missouri Action Agency, 1121 W. Ste. Maries, Perryville, (573) 547-2014
Scott County:
Sikeston Food Pantry and Southeast Missouri Food Bank, 104 Keystone Drive, Sikeston, (573) 471-1818

Regardless of how you choose to celebrate this wonderful holiday and this miraculous event, I hope it is a time that is full of joy and love with the ones you care about.

Christmas is also a time of reflection and thanks.  I would like to thank all of you for giving me the opportunity to represent you in the Missouri Senate.  It is an honor and a privilege, and I am grateful to you for giving me this opportunity. I trust that your Christmas will be filled with warmth and meaning as you gather with your loved ones and reflect on the true meaning of this blessed holiday.

Contact Me

As always, I appreciate hearing your comments, opinions, and concerns.  Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-2459.  You may write to me at Jason Crowell; Missouri Senate; State Capitol; Jefferson City, MO 65101, or email me at: or visit me on the web at

Subscribe to Sen. Crowell's reports via e-mail

22 December 2009

Kraus: Merry Christmas!

As most people settle in to enjoy the Christmas and New Year season, I am excited to be able to spend quality time with my family.  For many, this is a time to get out on the road and travel long distances to see family not seen for a while.  For others, the family is just a hop, skip and jump across town.  Or maybe the whole family is coming to your house, and it has been a week of cooking, cleaning, and putting up the lights.  For me, I'm both visiting and getting ready for company as my Christmas involves three family events.  Wherever the place, I hope you will be surrounded by the special and unique ambience of a loving family and good friends.

However wonderful family and friends are, Christmas is still more than that. This year, I attended and assisted with the Heart of America Christmas pageant at the First Baptist Church in Raytown.  While the story began in the small and sterile office of a man worried about being laid off from his job, the pageant of Christ's birth, life, and resurrection soon took center stage and touched the life of the distressed worker.  The dialogue, lights and magnificent music made the true story of Christmas real and personal.  It was an inspiring production, a reminder of the momentous birth that is the reason for this holiday as well as a statement of its relevance today.

Rep. Kraus with son Tannor serving as Salvation Army bell ringersAnother reminder of the meaning of the Christmas season was time I spent ringing a bell and taking contributions to benefit the Salvation Army.  My son Tannor came with me, which made this outing even more special.  As we watched people from all walks of life pass by our station and drop their change into the red kettle, I saw firsthand the spirit of giving that Christmas evokes.  Giving to the Salvation Army is an act of remembering people who need our assistance, and I was gratified at the generosity of the people in our community.

I suspect your holidays are busy, too!  If you are travelling, be careful and my best wishes to you for a safe arrival at your destination.  For everyone, my best wishes for a peaceful Christmas eve and a joyous Christmas day.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Will Kraus

Transportation News: For up-to-date information about state transportation projects, please visit MoDOT's Web site at

With the end of the 2009 Legislative Session and during interim, the Capitol Report will be issued from time to time instead of weekly. During this time, if you have an event that you would like me to attend or speak at, please contact my office at 1(573)751-1459 or email at will<dot>kraus<at>house<dot>mo<dot>gov

21 December 2009

Ruestman: Merry Christmas!

Christmas is a wonderful time of year!  Regardless of what is going on around us, this season always has a magical feel to it.  Every time I think of our Savior being born on a peaceful night in a manger it excites me.

I'm so glad that despite the liberal media and the far left's agenda, this season continues to remind us of Christ.  I feel so blessed to live in a nation where I still have the freedom of speech that allows me to say "Merry Christmas!" and the freedom of religion to celebrate its true meaning.

We are two weeks away from a new session and there are plenty of issues to discuss.  However, I encourage everyone to pause long enough to enjoy this wonderful holiday with their loved ones.  I am finishing up my last-minute shopping and preparing my home to welcome family and friends.  I look forward to a brief break to rest up before the fast pace of session begins.

Please remember those less fortunate who do not have the luxuries many of us do.  Sometimes we take our warm house and bountiful meals for granted this time of year.  Also, remember those serving our nation abroad.  They are sacrificing this precious time to ensure our safety and freedom.

My office will be closed next week, December 28 – January 4, to move back to the Capitol.  Due to this, there will not be a Ruestman Report.  We will reopen on Tuesday, January 5th.  Please feel free to contact us via email at Marilyn<dot>Ruestman<at>house<dot>mo<dot>gov during that time.  Thank you for your patience during this transition.  Merry Christmas!

Brandom: Missouri Farmers and Taxes

The Missouri Tax Commission has approved new productive values for agriculture land. The values are used to calculate property taxes and are determined by evaluating the potential earnings on the land through agriculture. This recommendation increases value as much as 29% for classes 1-4 and could result in as much as a $1.00 an acre increase for farmers in the Bootheel. Grade 1 represents prime crop land and Grade 8 represents unusable pasture. The increases in assessed valuation are as followed:

Grade of Land
2009 values
2011 values
This has been a tough economic year for many farmers that have experienced excessive wet weather while planting or harvesting. As Charles Kruse, the president of the Missouri Farm Bureau pointed out, extreme market volatility combined with record production expenses, unusually wet weather and weak demand have left many farmers struggling financially. These new productivity values are a backdoor tax increase. I believe the Commission made the wrong decision. History has proven that the best way to stimulate growth is to cut taxes and reduce the size of government. Agriculture is Missouri's number one product.

Fortunately, unlike in Washington, Missouri has a built in check for this sort of recommended tax increase. The legislature can pass a resolution within the first 60 days of session to reject the Commission’s ruling. I will be co-sponsoring this resolution upon the return of the Legislature to Jefferson City on January 6th, and will encourage all my colleagues in the House and Senate to join me in protecting the Missouri farmer.

On a personal note, I encourage everyone to remember in their thoughts and prayers all of our men and woman serving in the military, far away from their loved ones this holiday season. We must all be thankful for their dedication to our safety and security. I wish all of you a “Merry Christmas” and a “Happy and Healthy 2010.”

As always, please contact me if you have questions on this or any other issue. My toll-free number is 866-834-9219 or you can email me at Ellen<dot>Brandom<at>house<dot>mo<dot>gov.

Carter: Happy New Year, State Happenings, Handyman Program

The legislative session starts on Wednesday, January 6, 2010, and I will be in Jefferson City Monday through Thursday.  If you have time stop by and see me [Room 115-H], or feel free to just give my office a call. [573-751-7605 or 866-372-9703]

It's hard to believe that I have been in office for nearly a year now.  I have learned a lot during this past year, and I look forward to learning even more during the upcoming legislative session.  I've met many of my constituents, helped a lot of them with a lot of different issues and look forward to working with more during the next year.

This is the last newsletter of 2009.  Around the end of January you will start receiving newsletters once a week again.  If there is anything you would like to see addressed in the newsletter that I am not addressing please let Cheri know.

I also wanted to let you know that my office will be closed from December 23 through January 4, 2009 for the Holidays.  Please feel free to leave messages or send us an e-mail because Cheri will be checking those occasionally throughout that time.

For now, I hope you enjoy this newsletter, and wish each and every one of you a joyous and blessed Holiday Season.