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May God bless you - Representative Bill Reiboldt
Saturday, July 12, was the 71st celebration of Carver Days, an annual event that commemorates the life of George Washington Carver and the establishment of the national monument to honor him and his work. Located west of Diamond, MO, the national park and monument was founded on July 14, 1943 by an act of Congress. The U.S. Park Service maintains 210 acres of the original 240-acre Moses Carver farm. This was the first national monument that was dedicated to an African American as well as the first monument that was dedicated to a non-U.S. president.
Carver Days this year was extra-special in that a new film about the life of Dr. Carver was released. This quality movie was professionally done and will replace the older movie that has been shown at the park since 1984. Both the older film and the new film— “Struggle and Triumph: The Legacy of George Washington Carver”— can be purchased in the park’s bookstore.
Dr. Carver was a renowned agricultural scientist, chemist, educator, and humanitarian. He was born into slavery around the end of the Civil War era. Although there were no official records kept, July 14 of 1865 is recognized as his birthdate. Born during difficult and changing times, as an infant, he and his mother were kidnapped by Confederate raiders (bushwhackers) in hopes of selling them for money. Eventually, young George was recovered and returned to the Carvers; however, his mother was never seen again.
Voters in Missouri will decide five different constitutional amendments that are to appear on the August 5 ballot. While these amendments are important within themselves, they also give individual citizens the privilege to take part in the state constitution amendment process.
The Missouri Constitution is the fundamental governing document for the state. Though all 50 states have written their own constitution, the only federal requirement is that they must guarantee a Republic form of government. Thus, most states have used the United States’ Constitution as their blueprint when drafting their own. Unlike the more detailed state constitutions, the U.S. Constitution is different in that it isn’t as specific or as comprehensive as a state document needs to be, and this is one of the reasons why it has only been amended 27 times in 227 years. This is also why the U.S. Constitution is one of the greatest documents of all time. It is “a living document,” designed to adapt and grow as the nation changes and grows.
For the last two years the Nixon Administration and Missouri’s General Assembly have found themselves at odds over the state’s budget. This past week the showdown intensified when Governor Nixon announced that he would be vetoing or withholding over $1.1 billion of the state’s $26.4 billion budget, money that has already been appropriated by the General Assembly. Of the $1.1 billion total, over $846 million has been withheld. This money can and probably will be re-instated by the governor after the September Veto Session – especially if the governor’s vetoes are sustained on ten bills he calls “the tax break bills.” Again, the governor is attempting to force the General Assembly to do what he wants instead of what the General Assembly voted to do and what their constituents wanted them to do. In theory, Governor Nixon is holding up appropriated money as a ransom to see whether the General Assembly will override his veto, trying to strong-arm them into doing things his way.
In Governor Nixon’s over-reaction to the revenue shortfall, he has closed seven tax-assistance offices across the state. These offices assisted both individuals and businesses with their tax needs and questions. One of the seven offices to be closed is the Joplin office where five employees have already received their pink slips, effective July 1. Furthermore, Governor Nixon’s cuts have affected perhaps as many as 260 more state workers by his closing of nineteen regional state offices for the Department of Revenue (DOR) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The Neosho DNR office that provides services for both Newton and McDonald Counties is one of the offices to be closed. Several mental health workers will also see their jobs ending. Of the people who will be losing their jobs, some are career employees, several with over twenty years experience; others are within months of retirement.