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November 27, 2016  21st Edition
Are We Having Fun Yet?
Election 2016
First and foremost, I want to thank you for support, with a couple of special shout outs to all of my family members. We had some wonderful people working for us. Ernie Kieckers (pictured to the right), dubbed himself one of my sidewalk surrogates. Thank you Ernie, you always help in so many ways.

I was a bit overwhelmed by the number of emails from both Democrats and Republicans expressing their congratulations and support.

2016 was a bizarre election cycle. Whether Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green, independent or whatever, what happened this year is very different from any previous Presidential Election in memory.
Only 5 previous presidents had never been elected to pubic office before becoming president. Hoover served as Secretary of Commerce prior to his election. Presidents Taylor, Grant and Eisenhower came from military careers and did not hold political office prior to their presidencies. Donald J. Trump is the only one to be elected President without any prior public service experience. That completes the history lesson for today.

Within the 71st district, Republicans won every seat for which we had the opportunity to cast a vote on; except two, my House seat and Sam Page's seat on the County Council. I do not yet have the details as to how just our district voted on any of the other races or ballot issues. I will share that information with you when it becomes available. I think it will prove to be very interesting.

And a special note of thanks goes to my Republican friends who told me that they crossed over to vote for me.

Electoral College or Popular Vote?
This is a big question looking forward. In 48 states the electoral vote is awarded on a winner take all basis. Only Maine and Nebraska proportionally split their electoral votes. 2016 marks only the second time since 1888 that one candidate for president won the majority of the popular vote, while the other won the presidency through the vote of the Electoral College. Al Gore (2000) and Hillary Clinton each won the popular vote.

Many of you have expressed interest in abolishing or modifying the Electoral College. In my opinion, the best alternative currently under discussion is the National Popular Vote Project.

The National Popular Vote Project would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Basically this is a compact with a collection of states wherein they agree to pledge their electoral votes to the candidate that receives the majority of the popular vote; but the compact will not take effect until enough states together control the 270 votes necessary to win the presidency. Thus far, it has been enacted into law in 10 states (and the District of Columbia) with 165 electoral votes:

  • California
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • District of Columbia

105 more electoral votes are needed to activate the compact. The number of states is irrelevant, it is the number of electoral votes that will make the difference.

Representative Tony Dugger (R) introduced the National Popular Vote bill (HB 1959) in the Missouri House of Representatives in 2016; I was one of 43 co-sponsors. It was passed out of the Select Committee on State and Local Governments with a unanimous bipartisan vote; however it never made it to the House floor. Unfortunately so far, there is no Republican stepping up to offer the bill during the coming session. The reality with the Missouri House of Representatives is that Republican bills are considered first; and only a few Democrat bills are even assigned to a commitee early enough to stand any chance at consideration before the end of the session. With the 2016 presidential results, the sense of urgency for the majority of legislators in Missouri has passed.

Similar legislation was introduced in 2012, 2009, 2007 and 2006. Each time it seems to advance a little further in the process; progress that I hope will continue in a forward direction.

In my opinion, one compelling reason to adopt this plan comes from an analysis of the number of formal campaign appearances, by the candidate or running mate, in each state.

When you look at the map, it's obvious that it is the so-called battleground states that receive the serious attention, with others being ignored altogether.

Another thing to think about is how much money is donated to a candidate in relation to the attention given to that state. 12 states had a total of 375 visits, while 21 visits were made to 14 states and 24 states were not visited. I guess Missouri counts a little bit as we received two visits. Doesn't every vote count? Apparently not!

For more (far more) information on this, follow the link to the National Popular Vote website.

District survey coming soon to your US mail box
Once again I will be asking your opinions to help guide me in the coming session. I would appreciate your returning the surveys to me quickly so we can tally the data. The questions will be based on what I believe will be the "hot topics" this session. Some of them will be repeats from previous surveys and some will be new.

Between now and the beginning of the Legislative Session
With each election there are adjustments to be made. For new and returning legislators, December is the month of pre-filing bills, committee assignments, selecting offices, getting parking assignments and ID badges.

On the Democratic side we have 19 incoming freshman. Eighteen are replacing Democrats who were required to leave because of term limits, ran for other offices or lost in the primary. There was a gain of two seats; those previously held by Rep. English (St. Louis County — Independent) and Rep. King (Jackson County — Republican). We also lost one seat previously held by Rep. Otto (St. Louis and St. Charles counties( creating a net gain of one seat.

The bottom line is that the House will have 117 Republicans and 46 Democrats. It takes 109 votes to override a veto. The majority party has the numbers to do as they choose if they mostly stick together.

It is not all gloom and doom for the Democrats. We still have friends across the aisle. The way I look at it is somewhat like theatre. There is a lot to be done: lights, sound, scenery, and then we have the actors on the stage getting all the applause… or other stuff. As a member of the minority, my job is one of the backstage crew. Without the back stage there is no production. An awful lot of work is done on bills long before they come to the floor of the House for consideration. Not much glory there but based on your votes, I know that you understand that I am really trying to work in the best interest my constituents and the people of our state.

The session will begin on Wednesday, January 4, 2017, at noon.
The 99th, General Assembly will begin at noon with the swearing in of all members and election of House officers. No action can take place until the members are sworn in. The remainder of the week will be naming of committees, member assignments and bills assigned to committee.

Monday, January 9th, is the swearing in of the new Governor. In case you missed it he is a graduate of Parkway North (class of '92) and his parents still live in our district. The new Secretary of State, Jay Ashcroft is also a resident of our district.

Of course you are invited to the Inaugural Ball on Monday evening, January 9th. It is held in the Capitol and therefore opened to all. Generally it is a formal event and the majority of those attending will be dressed accordingly.

I need your help — What you can do!
I have been receiving calls and emails asking me how people can get involved or be more active in the process.
  1. Small gatherings — Invite friends and neighbors to your home for a small gathering (4 to 10 people) to talk with me about what you think is important. I will help you find ways to take action. These would be no more than 1 to 1½ hours in length.

  2. Town Hall Meetings — What is important to you? Is there a topic about which you would like to learn more? I can secure locations and speakers to come and talk with you about whatever is important to you. I will be scheduling a town hall meeting or meetings during the first part of 2017. Please let me know if there are topics that you are interested in learning about. I will secure locations and speakers.
NOTE: From January to May, I am in Jefferson City Monday through Thursday afternoon, so please keep this in mind when scheduling any events. Thursday evening, Friday, Saturday or Sunday are best.
As always

Thank you for your support, and for giving me the opportunity to represent you in Jefferson City. Have a wonderful Holiday Season and a Happy New Year! Keep in touch.

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Paid for by Friends of Sue Meredith, Pam Crowley — Treasurer