New members develop plan to attain goals

Virginia Fairchild

When representatives and senators pack up for Jefferson City, they not only carry with them personal interests, but also the wants and needs of every citizen they represent.

All of these goals have to be dealt with and prioritized. To make the most out of the time they have, legislators are scattered across committees to ensure that most of the issues facing the nature of Missouri, its public, and its economy are recognized.

Local representatives have other bills on their minds besides the name change at Missouri Southern.

Rep. Bryan P. Stevenson (R-Joplin) was appointed to the Children’s Justice Committee, and he said the group is “completely reviewing the Division of Family Services and Juvenile System to restructure, reorganize, re-prioritize and make more efficient.”

One of his personal goals is to help complete the Highway 259 bypass which he said would take a load of traffic off of Range Line Road and ease access to and from the College.

“We need to pass legislation that addresses work comp and unemployment to increase job opportunities for our graduates as soon as they finish at MSSC,” Stevenson said.

Rep. Steve Hunter (R-Joplin), chairman of the Workforce Development and Workplace Safety Committee, is also working on a comprehensive bill to reform workers’ compensation.

Reforming unemployment security as well as passing a bill that would enable public schools to construct new buildings at a “responsible cost” is on his list.

“Those three bills we want to get through the House and the Senate and put on the governor’s desk,” Hunter said.

“I won’t vote for any major tax increases, and I will watch the penny like it’s out of my own check book,” Hunter said.

Rep. Ron Richards (R-Joplin) said he is focusing on job creation and economic development to allow Missouri to be more competitive with bordering states.

“I just want to be a good public servant, make our area and our college more competitive, and bring a better quality of life to our area,” Richards said.