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21 June 2011

Holsman: White House Visit, National Security Summit, Disaster Committee

At right: Rep. Holsman volunteering in Joplin

Dear Friends,

I hope you have been enjoying the start of summer here in the midwest. The past month since the legislature ended has been anything but quiet. No issue happening around the State of Missouri has drawn more concern or attention than the devastation that took place to our neighbors in Joplin.

The citizens in Joplin, and other areas affected by natural disasters, are in need of support. Both in terms of volunteers to clean up the wreckage as well as donations to help rebuild their communities.

The resolve and spirit of those whose lives have been drastically altered is strong, and the tireless efforts that are being made to bring those communities back to life gives credence to the amount of pride we take in helping each other during times of great need. Americans always rise to the occassion.

It is important that as the weeks carry on that we do not forget our fellow citizens who are still in distress. For those who wish to donate to the Joplin relief effort a great resource can be found at

Garen McMillian from that organization can be contacted at 417-483-5136 for details.

Additionally the Red Cross has played an integral role in the recovery effort, their website is and general information number is (866) 206-0256.

In response to the natural disasters sustained by our State, the House Speaker Steven Tilley has established the Interim Committee on Disaster Recovery to which I am honored to receive the appointment to serve by Democratic Leader Mike Talboy.

It is an awesome responsibility to help prepare the state for the unexpected and assist in mapping out our road to recovery. Though it is unfortunate the impetus for action was borne from such tragic circumstances.

The remainder of this summer edition is filled with a closer look at the legislation we passed this past session. As well as a highlight of my visits to Chicago for a Summit on National Security and Climate Change through the NCEL and the White House for a YEO briefing.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding any of these issues, please do not hesitate to ask. It is my honor to serve you in our state capitol. The Part II edition should be out sometime in August. Have a great summer.


Interim Committee on Disaster Recovery

At left: Holsman at Joplin

The Interim Committee on Disaster Recovery, recently established by Speaker Tilley, will conduct meetings in June. Preliminary scheduling dictates the committee will conduct meetings:

June 22nd in Sedalia
June 27th in Joplin
June 30th in Sikeston

The committee will look at the ongoing recovery efforts in affected areas of Missouri and research how the State can better aid in the immediate recovery process concluding with a report to the legislature by July 31, 2011. Included in the report will be long term strategies to set up infrastructure to be better prepared for future natural disasters.

Speaker Pro Tem Shane Schoeller will chair the efforts of the interim committee.

This past session I sponsored HB615 which would give Governor Nixon the authority to establish the "Civil Disaster Response Corps" within the department of Public Safety. This group of citizens would be called into action to assist in relief efforts such as the one in Joplin.

Briefing in Washington

At right: Sen. Chapell-Naddal, KCMSD Board President West, Kansas Rep. England, Rep. Smith, Kansas Rep. Gunby, Rep. Holsman, Rep. Jones, Councilman Reed

On June 17, eight Missouri elected officials traveled to Washington, D.C., for a policy briefing in the Eisenhower Building with top members of the Obama administration as part of the Young Elected Officials organization (YEO).

YEO is a program of the People for the American Way Foundation, a non-profit organization. YEO's mission is to unite and support young leaders who share a passion for building communities that reflect the values of freedom, fairness, and opportunity.

House Minority Leader Mike Talboy, State Rep. Jason Holsman, Kansas City Councilman Jermaine Reed and Kansas City School Board President Airick Leonard West made up the Kansas City delegation invited to the event.

At age 26 Councilman Jermaine Reed, 3rd district, is the youngest member currently serving on the Kansas City Council. School Board President Airick Leonard West, age 31, took the reins of a troubled school board. West's leadership has provided direction to the school board, and reengaged the community.

Representatives Talboy and Holsman were elected in the same class to the Missouri General Assembly in 2006. Rep. Mike Talboy, age 33, has risen to lead the Democratic caucus as Minority Floor leader. While Rep. Holsman, age 35, serves on seven House Committees and chairs both the Joint Committee on Urban Agriculture and the Committee on Renewable Energy despite being a member of the minority party.

The Kansas City delegation joined Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, Rep. Tishaura Jones, Rep. Chris Carter, and Rep. Clem Smith, all of the St. Louis area, at the event.

Maria Chappelle-Nadal, age 37, previously served six years in the Missouri House before being elected to the Missouri State Senate in 2010. Tishaura Jones, age 39, was elected to the Missouri House in 2008, and is the first African American female to serve as the assistant Minority Floor Leader. Chris Carter, age 29, serves as the vice chairman of the House Democratic caucus. Clem Smith, age 34,was elected to the Missouri House in 2010 and serves as Deputy Minority Whip and Treasurer of the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus.

During the three and a half hour policy briefing the group of Young Elected Officials heard from speakers: David Agnew, Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs; Austan Goolsbee, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors; Stephanie Cutter, Deputy Senior Advisor to the President; Heather Zichal, Deputy Assistant to the President for the Office of Energy and Climate Change; Shaun Donovan, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; and Aneesh Chopra, Chief Technology Officer.

Rep. Holsman was recognized for questions during the energy segment conducted by Heather Zichal.

"Considering the tragedy in Fukushima Daiichi and Germany's recent announcement to draw down nuclear power by 2020 what is the administration's view of nuclear resources in the future and are they considering alternative fuels and technology like thorium and modular generation?" Holsman said.

Zichal responded to Holsman by acknowledging the concern over Fukushima Daiichi and expressed the need for clean base load power with an interest in exploring modular technology.

Aneesh Chopra gave a presentation about utilizing existing data from untapped research to aid entrepreneurs and innovators to create private sector business opportunities through new and useful application of the information. Airick Leonard West was recognized for a question regarding innovations to technology currently in public school districts. Chopra recognized the need to promote technology in the classroom, and gave an example of its potential advantages, citing fifth graders who were able to learn calculus by conducting online virtual assessments. By going at their own pace students enjoy working with online games and challenges by participating in self paced electronic benchmarking.

Following the policy briefing, the group of 150 elected officials were escorted to the White House for a reception attended by President Obama. At the reception the President gave remarks on the importance of young officials gaining valuable leadership experience that will carry on our unique American Democracy.

Joint Committee on Urban Agriculture Hearing in Kansas City: July 11th

At right: Holsman touring growing power

The Joint Committee on Urban Agriculture will host a hearing in Kansas City on July 11th at 5:30 PM. UMKC is graciously allowing the committee to conduct its' first hearing at their Pierson Auditorium.

Special thanks to Beth Low, Director of the Greater Kansas City Food Policy Coalition, Troy Lillibo, Director of External Relations UMKC, and Jacob Wagner, Assistant Professor UMKC Department of Architecture, Urban Planning, and Design for making this event possible. There will be free event parking for those interested in attending the event.

In preparation for the hearing, members of the committee will take part in a trip to Milwaukee to tour some of the nation's most innovative Urban Agriculture facilities.

Milwaukee has converted abandoned factory buildings into working farms that produce vegetables and fish stock year round. One of those facilities currently houses over 35,000 perch and 20,000 tilapia. These facilities are local organic producers that participate in local economies.

Sweetwater Organics
Will Allen Growing Power

End of Session Town Hall

I would like to thank all of those citizens who made it out to our most recent town hall meeting in May. Although the weather was threatening we still had a great turnout. We were able to get through a tremendous amount of information from this past session and answer questions from the district.

Summit on National Security and Climate Change

In May I was invited to attend a conference in Chicago hosted by the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators. The conference brought together policy makers from 10 different state legislatures to discuss and analyze the national security risks associated with Climate Change.

In attendance was Jay Gulledge, Senior Scientist from the Pew Institute for research on Global Climate Change, Vice Admiral Dennis Mcginn now President of the American Council on Renewable Energy and Michael Block from the White House's Office on Intergovernmental Affairs. The event was sponsored by the Joyce Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers.

Although no final conclusion has been reached, the evidence for society's impact on climate change is complex and extensive. The United States Military is reacting to the data with an internal Renewable Energy Standard of 25% by 2020 and a goal of 50% of forward bases at net zero emissions.

The example set by the US military leading changes in public policy is an established fact of history. In 1948 President Harry Truman issued an executive order desegregating the US Military. It would take the US Congress 16 years before they did the same for the public with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. President Obama has provided leadership overturning Don't Ask Don't Tell removing the fear of service members being discharged for sexual orientation. Now, the US Military again recognizes the need for progressive action. The strategic importance of generating electricity from clean sustainable technology is now a stated goal. As the US Congress again rebukes meaningful energy reform, the US Military is leading the way.

"Mobile strategic renewable sources of energy fit with every aspect of the 21st Century Fighting Forces." Vice Admiral Mcginn said. "We need our citizens to view solar panels on their roof as the 21st century 'victory gardens' demonstrating their patriotism for our soldiers."

For scientists who spend their lives in pursuit of an accurate understanding of the planet's temperature change it's hard accepting their people's representatives in Congress allow 2% of the world's scientific community to decry volumes of evidence as liberal politics. The interests who oppose this shift in power producing technology profit from the status quo and work to convince a majority in the US House that believing in climate change is somehow affiliated with leftist ideology. The echo chamber and news outlets also owned and controlled by those same interests provide talking points to misinform the electorate.

Fortunately there are elected officials from both parties willing to stand up for a long-term renewable energy policy. But it's happening at the state level. Currently almost 35 states have some form of a Renewable Energy Standard. Missouri voters overwhelmingly passed Prop C in 2008 establishing an RES of 15% by 2021. Unfortunately ambiguous language and legislative meddling have delayed the investment by three years and without changes could put off development for a total of ten years.

As Chairman of the Committee on Renewable Energy I worked across the isle with Republican members including Zach Wyatt on HB613 to fix prop c and secure immediate investment in alternative energy.

The legislation was bottled up in the House and failed to receive a vote in the final hour of session in the Senate. The solution may reside in a return to the ballot circumventing the legislature. If the US Military commits to the value of renewable energy then the American people have traditionally supported their armed services.

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