As we welcome in the New Year, those of us serving in the Missouri Legislature are packing our bags in preparation for the new session beginning January 4.
Thank you to so many of you who met with me, called me and provided me with input and information during the interim between sessions. I take your pressing concerns, ideas, and energy with me as I work to make positive change for Missourians. There is much to be done.
May 2012 be a year of new beginnings and successes in whatever ways you measure them: Good health, loving families, good friends and prosperity.
Who Represents You?Redistricting Questions Addressed
Every ten years when the census is completed, political subdivisions from Congressional Districts to Townships and City Council Wards change boundaries so that constituents in the same types of political subdivisions are approximately equal in number.
This plays out in interesting ways that sometimes generate confusion with regard to Missouri House and Senate Districts.
Much of our House District 82 has been drawn into a new House District that will be numbered as District 88 beginning in January of 2013. However, people who live in District 82 north of Olive in unincorporated St. Louis County have been drawn into what will be the new 71st District beginning in 2013.
Please note: I will continue to represent our current District 82 until new Representatives are sworn in in January of 2013. At that time, I hope to represent most of you in the newly drawn 88th District, where my family and I live.
Interestingly, in 2012, as long as a person meets Constitutional qualifiers, anyone is able to run for office in any district--a once-in-a decade situation. Then, going forward, a candidate is required to live in the district for at least a year before s/he runs there.
The situation with the Senate is more complex. Unlike State Reps who run every two years, State Senators run every four years. Senators whose new districts are numbered with an odd number will run in 2012. Senators running in even numbered districts will run in 2014. This creates a Constitutionally- derived flaw in representation.
With overlaps in districts between the current and the new, some areas will be represented by two Senators for a couple of years after the 2012 elections, while some areas will have no Senatorial representation!
While this is the technical reality, we have seen Senators step forward to offer their constituent services to those districts that are not represented for a period of time. One way is that Senators will work with their current districts and take on the constituents in the newly formed district of the same number until the 2014 elected Senators are sworn in. Phew!
Confused? Remember, nothing changes in terms of your representation until January of 2013. And, you will have the opportunity to weigh in during the November, 2012 elections!
You can always find out who your legislators are by accessing http://www.senate.mo.gov/llookup/leg_lookup.aspx You will need your nine-digit zip code.
What Might You Hope For?2012: The Overarching Issues
Let's focus on those pressing issues that make a difference in people's lives:
It is time for job creation and ensuring that workers in Missouri are able to take care of themselves and their families. It is unconscionable that working people are living in poverty.
It is time for all Missourians to receive accessible and affordable healthcare, including mental healthcare access.
It is time to make education a priority, from early childhood through college. We must prepare our students for 21st century jobs. All of our children deserve a quality education. And, a well educated citizenry will attract commerce to the area.
It is time to make sure our Seniors are able to live on their fixed incomes, and not be taxed out of their homes.
It is time to protect the health of our environment, for the sake of all of us.
Let us work toward positive change...together in 2012