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It’s been a pleasure to get work started in the Senate. However, we began the week on a somber note. I took time on the floor of the Senate to recognize Sgt. 1st Class Robert Wayne Pharris from Seymour, who died on January 5th after an insurgent attack in Afghanistan.
Sgt. Pharris was 48 years old and was the father of a Marine corporal, also serving in Afghanistan. He first joined the National Guard in 1981 and then rejoined in 2008. At home, Sgt. Pharris raised goats and sheep on his farm, and he used this knowledge on his mission in Afghanistan, where he worked with Afghani farmers and taught them to rotate crops, use fertilizers, and increase crop yields. When a loss like this takes place in our community, the grief is felt throughout, and I would like to send my deepest sympathies to the Pharris family. Those military members who make the ultimate sacrifice deserve our sincerest gratitude and respect.
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Our main focus in the Senate this week was our efforts to “Reboot Government.” In 2010, the Senate began the initiative to streamline state government by looking critically at every aspect of our government and finding ways to trim costs and improve efficiency. We continued the project this year by taking suggestions from the public on the Senate’s website on how best to reduce state spending. We then divided into 7 groups, each addressing a specific area of state government and discussed the ideas. Many of these ideas will be formed into bills and will be debated on the Senate floor. It is a great way to get legislators thinking outside the box on how to save taxpayer dollars.
On January 19th, the recommendations of the Rebooting work groups will be presented. The goal is that these ideas from taxpayers will ultimately become law and will improve our state for the long-term. We will also continue to take your suggestions throughout the year. If you have a suggestion you would like to share, please visit www.senate.mo.gov/RebootMO and submit your idea.
If you have any questions or comments about this or any other matter regarding your state government, please feel free to contact me at (573) 751-1503; you are also welcome to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.