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The 2009 legislative session begins with focus on Missouri families

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Jan 9, 2009) — This week marked the opening of the 2009 legislative session and with it the beginning of our efforts to provide relief to Missourians struggling with the current economic downturn. Every session brings with it a new set of challenges and this one will be no different. We know hard-working Missourians want and need help during these trying times. While the federal government is preoccupied with billion dollar bailout plans for big business, we in the Missouri House will place our focus where it is needed most — on Missouri families.

During opening day proceedings, I had the honor of voting in our new leader, Speaker of the House Ron Richard, who will direct our legislative efforts to help Missouri families. Richard has worked over the years to promote economic development and create good-paying jobs for Missourians. I firmly believe he and the other members of our leadership team will provide the guidance we need as we work to revitalize our economy through job creation initiatives; lower the tax burden on hard-working Missourians; explore alternative energy sources to lessen our dependency on foreign oil; and improve the affordability and accessibility of our system of healthcare.

During his opening day address, Richard outlined those four main points that make up what we are calling our Family Recovery Plan. Under the plan, we will work to expand successful job-creating initiatives like the Quality Jobs Program and develop innovative incentives that will attract new businesses to our state. We will work to revise our personal income tax to provide a modest tax cut that will keep more of your hard-earned dollars in your pocket where they belong. We will explore ways to improve our system of healthcare so it is affordable and accessible while at the same time ensuring it is free of the waste, fraud and abuse that has plagued it in the past. And we will find ways to promote development of our alternative energy sources such as clean coal, wind farms, hydroelectric and nuclear power.

We know the Family Recovery Plan is essential to provide Missourians with the assistance they need during these tough economic times. However, we also know there are many more issues we will face this session. At the top of our list will be crafting a budget that spends your tax dollars in a way that is responsible and cost effective. The sound financial planning of the past has placed our state in a fortunate position during these trying times, but we must face the realities of a tight budget year and be prepared to use your tax dollars in the most efficient manner possible. Also this year, we will work to improve our system of education so that each child is prepared for future success and we will continue efforts to ensure the goal of a college education is one that is attainable for every Missouri student. We will reaffirm our commitment to protecting the lives of the unborn and build on the success the legislature has had in greatly reducing the number of abortions in our state in recent years. In addition, we will stand firm in protecting the rights of gun owners regardless of how the national political landscape may change.

We have an aggressive agenda before us this session and I am excited to take on the challenge of turning some of these ideas into effective policies. The Family Recovery Plan will be the cornerstone on which our legislative successes will be built, but it is only one part of the body of work we will complete this year. For any of the legislation we pass, you can rest assured we will have the best interests of Missouri families at heart. Where our federal government has failed to act, the Missouri House will remain committed to seeking effective solutions to the problems faced by Missourians from all walks of life.

Once again I want to remind everyone that the 2009 Legislative Survey is still being conducted online. Simply go to www.StateRepDay.com and click on the link to the survey, I value your thoughts and opinions and this is one way for you to share them with me. You can also call (573) 751-1446 and request a printed copy of the survey if you don’t have access to the internet.

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