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19 January 2012

Neth: Short Week, MLK Day Celebrations

Op. note: HJR43 is incorrectly identified in this missive as HB43. HB43 was proposed last session and concerned nuisance abatement ordinances.
This has been a short week, but it saw my first committee meeting. Next week will see many more. We passed out of the house HB 43. Upon voter approval this would put spending limits in place for the state. (Read a summary of the bill here). That was the only floor action this week. Next week we will probably be on the floor a little more with a few more bills. Committees will be in full action, as I know I have a full docket in my Elections committee.

My weeks are getting full with numerous meetings with people regarding issues in addition to normal constituent work. Education continues to be my main focus with all the issues surrounding the Kansas City School District, along with some issues I will have to revisit this year (in opposition to my caucus) in relation to employment and discrimination law and whistleblower protection.

Winter has finally set in. I guess it was inevitable. Maybe we can luck out without any snow. (Sorry kids)

Have a great weekend!

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration

William Jewell College 2012

Singing along to "We will Overcome".
I had the privilege of giving some brief remarks at the MLK Celebration at William Jewell College. (To view these remarks click here) It was an uplifting event. A highlight of it was Liberty-Kellybrook 5th Grader Cassia Shaffer (above) singing "My Soul loves Jesus". Wow, what a voice. It is great to celebrate the life and legacy of a great American such as Dr. Martin Luther King

(photos courtesy of William Jewell College)

Speaking with constituent Pat Miller

Education Issues

StudentsFirst comes to Missouri

As most of you know, Education is a big deal for me. I came from a family that stressed education, my wife is a teacher and as parents we place a high priority on continual learning in our own kids. The current education environment is a volatile one with tight budgets, competing factions for dollars and the continual call for reform, however that looks. Through all of this, I have been continually disappointed on the legislative front in the lack of focus on individual student achievement.

This can be seen in our Education Committee meetings. Up until now, there have been groups representing the school boards, the administrators, the unions, religious groups, reform groups, etc. Noticeably absent from that list has been anyone truly representing the kids. In my opinion that has changed.

StudentsFirst, a group founded by the former Washington DC Superintendent, Michelle Rhee, has decided to come to Missouri to push for true education reform that is focused on students. They have made a commitment to push legislation that puts student success as the primary focus in decisions regardless of whether that is in a public, private or any other type of school or education setting.

I was able to sit down with some of their leadership this week to discuss some of the current issues and to determine best next steps towards these goals. I am looking forward to working with StudentsFirst this legislative session and in the future to ensure every child in Missouri has the opportunity for the best education possible.

Getting to know....

Aaron Sewell

Aaron is my Legislative Assistant in the Capitol. He came on board in September of 2011 after graduating from Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. He received a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science. He married his wife, Katelyn in September and they currently reside in Jefferson City. She is pursuing her career in photography.

Aaron has been a great new addition to my office and he keeps things running and me where I need to be. He is getting the hang of the Capitol and is a great asset. A few days ago, he had the distinction of getting more press than me, when he was quoted in the Kansas City Star. Take a look here at what he had to say.


I will be joining Nick Haines on Kansas City Week in Review on KCPT this week. Three other local legislators will be on the show as well. It will initially air at 7:30 PM on Friday the 20th and rebroadcast at 11:00 on Sunday.

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