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01 August 2011

Lant: Legislative Staff Tours District

I don't know about you, but I'm beginning to wish I hadn't complained quite so much about the snow and cold last winter. It's true that we're never happy with the weather. From the looks of the forecast, we've got a few more days of hot weather coming. Remind me of this in February, will you?

I left out something last week that I need to tell you about. My Legislative Assistant, Mrs. Beverly McCasland and her husband John, came down from Jefferson City to spend the day. Bev wanted to see the District and get a feel for where everything was. She had been to Joplin to help with cleanup efforts, but John had only seen pictures. We started out at Hornet, then Loma Linda, then Silver Creek, then a tour of the tornado damage. We then went East of Joplin to Diamond. We stopped for lunch in Granby then went down through Newtonia, Stark City and Fairview on our way to Pineville. After a short tour of the courthouse, we went down to Noel, then up through Lanagan and Anderson on our way over to Rocky Comfort and Longview. By this time they were hopelessly lost, tired and hungry. Imagine their surprise when I turned off at Stella and took them to Big R's for dinner. Now when one of you call her for information or assistance, she'll know exactly where you are calling from! Seriously, any time you have questions or need help with legislative matters, Bev is the absolute best! She has worked in the Capitol for nearly 20 years and what she doesn't know, she can find out in short order.

Thursday through Saturday was our annual Summer Caucus Meeting. Normally these meetings are devoted to planning the legislative agenda for next years' Session. This time was a little different. We not only planned for next year, but we were planning for a Special Session to address economic development bills that failed to get passed and look at some possible legislation that would free up some funds for assisting Joplin and the flooded areas along the rivers. Normally, the Governor calls Special Sessions to address issues that he feels are necessary, but he seems to be moving rather slowly this time. There is some speculation that there are political motivations (Heaven forbid even the thought) to stall the Special Session until the polling data indicate the timing is right. House leadership asked each of us to sign petitions to call ourselves into session You see there is a venue by which we can call ourselves to address emergency issues. I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but if this isn't an emergency, I don't know what is! I'll keep you posted on this little exercise.

I've had a couple of dozen calls regarding the Government's imminent shutdown. I'm writing this on Sunday evening, but I'll bet they don't shut down anything. I'm ashamed of elected members of both parties for scaring people to death about a government default. For crying out load, my 12 year old granddaughter can see what they are doing. There are plenty of revenues coming in to pay our debt, the military, social security, and Medicare. There might not be enough to lease their private jets to fly them back and forth to wherever, but it might do some of them good to drive themselves once in a while. It might even impress on them the cost of gas! No one I know is able to borrow 40 cents of every dollar they spend and continue to be in business. It's high time they learned that you need to live within your means. Next week we are attending a conference where I hope to learn a lot about Economic Development opportunities. There will be Representatives and Senators there from all 50 states. My purpose is to gain as much information as possible from states that are enjoying a faster recovery from this recession. Anything that I can do to improve our economic condition is well worth the time and effort expended. By the end of our first year in office, each Representative is encouraged to start developing expertise in some area. I have decided that for me, workforce and economic development is where it's at. As term limits remove Representatives who have specialized in certain areas, there need to be those who are working to educate themselves in the important matters that will set the direction of our State for the future. My goal is to be up to the task.

I'll give you a full report next week. Until then, I am and remain, in your service.

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