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12 December 2011

Lant: Southwest Legislators Meet To Discuss Common Goals

Well we certainly had a fun filled week! We covered a lot of miles and attended a bunch of meetings and I don't know if I'm any better informed now than when we started. We got a great start on Monday and Tuesday by attending two functions where AT&T presented checks to worthy causes in the Joplin area. AT&T has been most generous in investing in the rebuilding efforts and has an ongoing commitment to us. In an age when big corporations are constantly criticized for making profits it is refreshing to see a company invest some of its profits in the future of our children.

We went to Springfield for a meeting on Tuesday where we heard a presentation on the Ballot Initiative to replace Missouri's State Income Tax with a sales tax. This will be an issue that the voters decide in November and I'm sure it will be well advertised by both sides for months before the election. They had facts and figures from comparable states that have eliminated the income taxes and from what we saw it does look like it would work. I'm looking forward to hearing the other side of the argument as I'm sure they have a compelling case also.

On Wednesday we were again in Springfield for a meeting with other Representatives in this Southwest Region. The purpose for the get together was to explore the advantages of meeting on a regular basis and developing an agenda of issues that will help us to pass legislation that is good for our region. There were 14 Legislators present for the discussion and it was decided that it would be good for us to get our heads together occasionally and talk about our local issues.

Thursday afternoon Bill Reiboldt and I had a meet and greet for Shane Schoeller, the speaker pro-tem who has announced his candidacy for Secretary of State. After a couple of hours of mingling, we went down to the McDonald County High School for a Republican Club meeting. Our dinner was served by the culinary class and from what I can tell they have learned their lessons well! The food was excellent and we heard from some State Senate candidates as well as getting to listen to Shane again. The meeting was well attended and Bill and I got to explain our take on the redistricting results.

The meeting was over about 7:30 after which I started for Jefferson City. We had a Caucus meeting scheduled for 9:00 on Friday morning and I didn't want to get up that early and drive up. As you could probably guess, the Caucus meeting was about all the new districts that have been created from one end of our state to the other. I certainly hope future commissions take note of this mess before they let Appellate Judges decide it for them again. Some of the Districts in Kansas City and St.Louis are completely different from their current configurations. Incumbents who desire to run in the new Districts will be required to move and to campaign in areas they have never been in let alone have any name recognition. Some urban Reps now find themselves thrown into farming communities and vice versa. On closer look, it doesn't even seem to be particularly partisan. The Democrats and Republicans alike are bewildered by the total chaos the Appellate Judges have created. On the bright side of this mess, Bill Reiboldt and I have come out much better than most. I have pledged to help him campaign in some of my district and he has agreed to do the same. We are extremely fortunate to represent a part of the state where everyone has common goals. Newton and McDonald Counties are in my estimation, the finest places in the world to live. Neither one of us are complaining about who we will be representing! The Constitution provides that I can run for my new district and when elected, I have one year to move my place of residence. I must be a resident in the new district by November of 2013. I erroneously reported last week that Jane would probably start looking at house plans soon. It turns out that she has been looking at plans for the past month. There are some things that it is just better not to know!

Saturday evening we were at the Pineville Christmas Parade. The weather was good and there were a lot of happy children. It doesn't get much better than that. This week promises to be a busy one also with another trip to Jefferson City. I'll give you a full report next week. Until then, I am and remain in your service.
Bill Lant

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