Now that all of the new legislators have been sworn in, and we have celebrated the inauguration of our statewide elected officials, the 97th General Assembly is fully under way. Now we can get down to the business of serving our constituents.

During the first weeks of legislative session, most of the work is done in the various committees. Bills are discussed, and testimony is heard from state departments and policy specialists about the nature of the legislation and how it will affect the state. Committee hearings are also open to the public, and can be a great way to get involved and learn about the lawmaking process.

This session, I am proud to be the Chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs and Health Committee, as well as a member of the Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources Committee, the Appropriations Committee, the Joint Committee on Life Sciences, and the Education Committee.

Next week, the Appropriations Committee will begin work on the state budget, which is one of the most important, as well as one of the most difficult tasks facing the legislature every year. Deciding how to spend your tax dollars is a huge responsibility, and I look forward to meeting with this and all my assigned committees over the coming months.

My goal as a state legislator has always been to help make Missouri a better place to live, work, and raise a family.

Always feel free to contact me throughout the year with any comments, questions, or issues by calling my office at (573) 751-5713 or by visiting my website at

Thank you for reading this and for your participation in state government.