Freshman Orientation (Mrs. Burnett goes to Jefferson City)
There is a lot to learn about being a member of the State Legislature. Today was just an introduction, and we had a number of good sessions from “What to Expect on the First Day,” to “How a Bill Becomes Law,” and “Safety and Security Within the Missouri Capitol.” The session I got the most out of, though, was titled, “Being an Effective Legislator.” It was presented by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) staff and volunteer members, and it drove home the point that we are not important people, but we are people who were elected to do an important job. Among the many responsibilities of elected state officials, one of the most important is to honor the institution – that is, to leave the institution a better place than when you arrived. This has nothing to do with partisan politics. It does mean building public trust that at the end of the day, we are there to ensure that our State Government is responsive to and protective of our citizens and our resources. We are a large class of freshmen, 19 Democrats and 19 Republicans, and I believe that we have been presented with an opportunity to influence how we approach the business of state governance within the boundaries of our roles. I’m looking forward to getting to know these people and working with them to support our citizens.
I am happy to report that I have an office – Room 105G, in the State Capitol Building. I won’t have any official letterhead or mailing address until we are all sworn in on January 4, but things are falling into place. I guess that’s one of the advantages to being in the minority party. Some of my Republican freshman colleagues were still waiting to find out their office assignments.