First, some good news this week! As you may have heard, last Friday Missouri U.S. Senator Roy Blunt and Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler announced a $10.09 million grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation to the city of Sedalia to extend its existing railroad tracks to the new Sedalia Rail Industrial Park. More on this topic below. Also, Gov. Parson held a Rural Health Care Summit to consider ways to improve health care delivery to rural Missouri. This is also treated in more detail below.
Also, earlier this week, it was my pleasure to join the announcement and kickoff ceremony of the GEAR UP 4 College and Career Readiness and the GEAR UP 2 Lead STEM programs. Attendees for this special event included: Knob Noster High School students and faculty, Missouri Commissioner of Education Roger Dorson, Brigadier General John Nichols, Commander of the 509th Bomb Wing, and many other distinguished guests. These programs are made possible through two Department of Defense Education Activity grants representing $2.25 million investment in the students of Knob Noster Public Schools. I was honored to speak and join in the celebration of the launch of these important programs. Again, congratulations to the Knob Noster school district!
On a more somber note, many of us lost a good friend in Saline County this week with the passing of Northern County Commissioner Richard Clemens. Richard was known for his commitment to the community and his ever-present smile. Final arrangements may be found at http://www.weikerfuneralhome.com/obituary/richard-clemens
Sedalia Rail Industrial Park Grant
Last Friday, Missouri U.S. Senator Roy Blunt and Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler announced a $10.09 million grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation to the city of Sedalia to extend its existing railroad tracks to the new Sedalia Rail Industrial Park.
“This grant funding will help keep the Sedalia Rail Industrial Park on track to become the largest, exclusive rail-served industrial park in the Midwest,” said Blunt. “The new rail design and capacity will position the region to take advantage of the great economic opportunities ahead. I appreciate Congresswoman Hartzler’s partnership and the advocacy of local officials who have worked hard to make this project a reality.”
“I am pleased the City of Sedalia has received this important grant to spur economic growth in the Pettis County area. The city has worked hard alongside the Sedalia-Pettis County Community Service Corporation, Pettis County, Senator Blunt, and my office to obtain the funding,” Hartzler said. “The grant will allow it to expand the current railroad tracks to the new Industrial Rail Park, where Nucor Steel is building a new steel rebar micro-mil facility that is estimated to bring 250 new jobs. Ideally, the rail project will spur other companies to locate their facilities at the Industrial Park too, creating even more good-paying jobs for hardworking Missourians in the Fourth District.”
In 2016, the Rail-Served Industrial Sites Task Force was launched in Sedalia to determine ways to bring more manufacturing to the Pettis County area. The creation of the task force led to the establishment of a large collaborative project involving 16 partners in both the public and private sector to create a rail-served industrial park. This park has the potential to be the Midwest’s largest, exclusive rail-served industrial park, offering 2,900 acres of development ready property for companies to invest in. To make this project possible, the task force would have to extend existing railways in the area to the industrial park so that plants at the park could easily ship their product.
Senator Blunt and Congresswoman Hartzler helped Sedalia win a BUILD Grant, which stands for Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development, from the U.S. Department of Transportation to extend the railroad to the new industrial park. Nucor is currently in the midst of building a $400 million rebar micro mill facility in the new industrial park, which is estimated to bring 250 new jobs with an average salary of $65,000 to the area. The establishment of the plant in Sedalia is one of the largest recruitment projects Central Missouri has landed in 10 years.
Governor Hosts Rural Health Care Summit
Governor Mike Parson recently brought together stakeholders and industry leaders in an effort to develop solutions to the unmet health care needs of rural Missourians. The governor organized the first ever Rural Health Care Summit, which was held in Bolivar, Missouri.
The summit addressed topics such as economic development in rural communities, Medicaid, rural hospitals, workforce provider access, Project ECHO, and telemedicine/behavioral health. The governor said it is important to improve health care for Missourians by developing better access to providers and hospitals, especially in rural areas.
“Almost 40 percent of Missouri’s citizens live in rural areas, and we are committed to making sure they too have access to both preventive and emergency care when it’s needed. We need to look at innovative solutions to increase providers and access to quality healthcare in rural areas,” said Gov. Parson.
Dr. Randall Williams, the director of the Department of Health and Senior Services, added, “The purpose of the summit is to learn from each other, hear about what is working, and explore together the areas where we can improve. We have many innovative programs in Missouri and want to share ideas on how best to move forward. I have seen firsthand throughout Missouri how people working together can meet challenges and deliver superb care.”
It is an honor to serve the 51st District in the Missouri House of Representatives. Each week I will issue a capitol report to keep you informed of activities in Jefferson City. Any concerns or issues you might have are of great interest to me. I look forward to your input and thoughts, so please feel free to contact me at any time if you have questions, concerns, or ideas to improve our state government and the quality of life for all Missourians. My telephone number is 573-751-2204 or you may contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for working with me to make Missouri a great place to live.