Let me begin by saying how proud I am of the citizens of District 142. It was refreshing to see so many familiar faces who made the trip to the state Capitol this week to take part in the legislative process. It was an honor and a pleasure to welcome them to the capital city. This week was a very busy week within the Missouri House, and we have a wide variety of items to discuss.
Youth Art Education Week
Youth Art Month is celebrated every year during the month of March with a student exhibit in the Capitol Rotunda. Each member teacher sends in up to four pieces for this exhibit. Artwork that reaches the state rotunda is an honor in itself. In addition, there are six other awards including the Governor’s Choice Award, Governor’s Mansion Award and one for each division, lower elementary, upper elementary, middle school and high school.
This year Cabool and Licking School Students participated and had their artwork featured in the Capitol Rotunda. Among those students, Nolan Stillwell from Cabool High School was awarded the Governor’s Choice Award, which was presented to him by our First Lady Georganne Nixon, and his artwork will hang in the Governor’s Capitol Office. I would like to recognize the following students and their instructors, for their fantastic work:
Licking Jr/Sr high, teacher Felicia Ellis
Cabool Elementary & Middle Schools, teacher Erin McLaughlin
Cabool High School, teacher Tiffany Green
Cabool Elementary/Middle, teacher Courtney Morrill
District 142 Speaker Luncheon
Another very exciting event for District 142 was a luncheon hosted by the Speaker of the House, Representative Tim Jones, for members from across the district. Eleven individuals from Cabool, Licking, Houston, Summersville, Edgar Springs and Mountain View, were welcomed to the Capitol this week. I would like to personally thank the attendees for the dedication to our community and their willingness to take an active role in working to improve the quality of life for all those who call our district home.
House Completes Balanced, Fiscally Responsible Budget
This week was budget week in the House, as we finalized amendments and approved the 13 appropriations bills that make up the state spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year. In total, the bills contain more than $24.8 billion in funding for our various state departments and agencies. I’m proud to say the budget represents a balanced spending plan (as constitutionally required) that forces our state to live within its means (which the federal government should take note of). Yes, there are certain areas of the budget where we would have liked to increase funding, but the end result is one that represents the best we can do considering the amount of revenues that will be available to fund our priorities. Due to the limited amount of available space and the other issues to discuss this week, our budget and the changes made this session will be discussed in greater detail in future reports.
Taking Time to Honor Those Who Serve
While many may not realize it, this week marked the first observance of Veterans of Operation Iraqi/Enduring Freedom Day. The day was created with the passage of legislation last year that designates March 26 as the day to give special honor and recognition to veterans who have served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Desert Storm.
I hope you will join me in recognizing this important day so that we will not allow the sacrifices made by our veterans and their families to ever be forgotten. Let us never forget they deserve our daily respect and admiration.