By Susan Redden
JOPLIN, Mo. —
Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, doesn’t often get positive words from Republican leadership in the Missouri General Assembly.
State Sen. Ron Richard, R-Joplin, the majority floor leader, departed from that trend in describing the pace when he accompanied the governor on a recent trip to Europe that included meetings with representatives of businesses that have interests in the state.
“He worked hard. He had us all going 10 to 12 hours a day,” said Richard, who described himself as “the lone Republican” in the contingent that traveled with the governor.
He said the Missouri delegation met with leaders of 24 businesses involved in technology and aircraft production, including some that have contracts in Southwest Missouri.
“We went to the Paris Air Show, and he (Nixon) was able to announce that Boeing is adding jobs in Missouri,” Richard said.
In Belgium, members of the group met with officials of InBev, the company that now owns Anheuser-Busch. The members also got a briefing from NATO commanders. They met with the American ambassadors to France and England during stops in Paris and London, and they also visited the beaches of Normandy and laid wreaths at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial.
Richard was chairman of the Job Creation and Economic Development Committee in the House when he served there, and he has traveled with governors on economic development trips, starting with Gov. Bob Holden.
Reiboldt on committee
State Rep. Bill Reiboldt, R-Neosho, chairman of the House Agriculture Policy Committee, has been named co-chairman of a committee appointed to address issues affecting agriculture in the state.
House Speaker Tim Jones last week announced the creation of the House Interim Committee on Emerging Issues in Agriculture Policy. The panel is to assess the state of agriculture in Missouri and develop policy recommendations that will promote the continued growth of the farming industry.
Jones named Rep. Casey Guernsey, R-Bethany, to chair the committee. Jones said he is confident that the panel will work “to develop innovative solutions to help the state’s $11 billion agriculture industry thrive” in the future.
“I want Reps. Guernsey and Reiboldt to take a closer look at some of the issues impacting our dairy industry, as well as some of the infrastructure needs our state will have to meet in order to move our agricultural products to new markets,” Jones said.
The industry contributes billions to the state’s economy and supports more than 23,000 jobs. It has been affected by last year’s drought, higher feed costs and, most recently, the failure of Congress to approve a farm bill.
A little office at the south entrance of the Jasper County Courthouse in Carthage now has a Missouri state seal on the door.
The space will be used by state Rep. Tom Flanigan, R-Carthage, as a place to meet and talk with local residents.
Darieus Adams, Western District associate county commissioner, said the commissioners have agreed to rent the space to Flanigan to give local residents and county officials additional access to state government. The rent amount is still being determined, Flanigan said.
New job for Overstreet
Jordan Overstreet, who has served for 18 months as executive director of the Southwest Missouri Democrats, has resigned to accept a job in Jefferson City. He is to start July 8 as executive director of the Missouri House Democratic Victory Committee.
Overstreet was the first full-time local director for the area organization. Local Democrats will continue to coordinate monthly breakfasts, Jackson Day West and voter identification efforts.
“We certainly feel like he’s completed the task we hired him for, and we expected this job to be a first for him, among many,” said Elliott Denniston, a member of the local group.
Doug Brooks, a member of the group who also serves on the Democratic National Committee, said a search for a new director will start soon.
SUSAN REDDEN is a staff writer for the Globe. She can be reached at email@example.com or 417-627-7258. Follow her on Twitter @Susan_Redden.