Blue Springs Town Hall – Senator Kraus Guest Column

Posted by on October 12, 2011 3:48 pm
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Categories: Missouri Missouri Senate

Will Kraus PictureOn Sept. 29, I held my sixth town hall of the year in Blue Springs.  The town hall was co-hosted by Rep. Jeanie Lauer, R-Blue Springs. In addition, four Blue Springs Council members were there to answer questions on local issues: Dale Carter, Jeff Quibell, Kent Edmondson and Chris Lievsay.  About 40 engaged residents attended the meeting.

Several state-related issues were raised during the town hall. Questions were raised or comments given on issues including a state health exchange, funding for education, job retention incentives, lottery funding for education, an attempt by Lake Tapawingo to annex part of State Route 40, the idea of replacing the state’s income tax with a consumption (sales) tax, the addition of 911 charges to cell phones, and the possibility of adding more casinos.

The issue that stood out the most, mainly because of its immediate impact, was a discussion about the current tax credit reform bill we are debating in special session. Specific questions were raised about the St. Louis Aerotropolis and MOSIRA pieces of the bill. General comments were offered about the stalemate between the Senate and the House.  Regarding the Senate’s position, I conveyed the same message I have delivered through these reports.

I continue to enjoy the town hall formats because of the breadth of issues we cover and the diversity of opinion I get to hear. I also enjoy the chance to provide perspective on what works, and what doesn’t, in Jefferson City. This type of open and honest communication between elected leaders and their constituents is what will return trust to the system.

News from Other Capitols

 

Last week, my family and I took a personal vacation to Fort Benning, Georgia, to attend the graduation of my son, Tylor, from basic training in the U.S. Army Reserve. He was very happy about completing the training and excited about going on to Virginia to train to be a mechanic on the Chinook helicopter.

While traveling, my family and I like to visit other state Capitols, and this time, we were able to visit the Capitols of both Alabama and Tennessee. I picked up some interesting bits of information while there. For instance, in Tennessee, the Speaker of the Senate, who is elected by the Tennessee State Senate from among its members, also holds the office of Lieutenant Governor. The Speaker/Lieutenant Governor is the governor’s designated successor.

I learned that Alabama has 35 state senators and 105 state representatives and Tennessee has 33 senators and 99 representatives. In comparison, the people of Missouri elect 34 state senators and 163 state representatives.

In Alabama, I noticed that the Missouri state flag being flown in the Capitol was quite worn and tattered. I immediately visited the office of the Secretary of the Senate and, as a gesture of friendship, offered to send him a new flag to be displayed. He was happy to accept it, and a new Missouri flag is on its way to Alabama.

I was also surprised and pleased to run into two constituents from Lee’s Summit while touring the state capitol in Nashville. It is a small world!

Please feel free to contact the 8th Senatorial District’s Capitol office with any questions or concerns at any time. We look forward to hearing your comments and suggestions and trying to answer any questions you may have. You can reach us by phone at 573-751-1464, or e-mail at will.kraus@senate.mo.gov.