CHAMBERFORUM

Legislators from Northwest Missouri speak to members of the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce during a forum Tuesday.

A delegation of state lawmakers from Northwest Missouri were the featured guests at a special St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce gathering Tuesday morning.

Freshman State Rep. Brenda Shields joined fellow Republicans Rep. Sheila Solon, Sen. Dan Hegeman and Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer to discuss and reflect on the progress made during this year’s legislative session, which ended last month.

Rep. Bill Falkner, R-St. Joseph, had a prior engagement and wasn’t able to attend, according to Shields.

The group of GOP legislators lauded measures that have a local focus, including the creation of a land bank in St. Joseph as well as a proposal that requires companies that own property to register with the city.

“One of the things that we know is people own property in St. Joe, but it’s not readily apparent who owns or is responsible for the property,” Luetkemeyer said. “When the property falls into disrepair, the city doesn’t know who to contact.”

Solon described the “teamwork” mentality that her fellow legislators share with each other, and city leaders.

“It was definitely a group effort,” Solon told the audience. “We all worked together for it.”

“We have a great group of individuals,” said Shields, who told the chamber crowd that her first year in Jefferson City was a successful one.

A longtime education advocate, Shields said she is ecstatic her proposal to create certified teacher externships was approved.

Hegeman praised the work done on the long budget process while also cheering lawmakers and the governor for funding expansion for broadband internet.

“Broadband is the electricity of today,” Hegeman said.

The Republicans also highlighted economic-related measures to the local business organization as the super majority GOP caucus pushed through several pieces of business-friendly legislation this year.

The chamber’s president, R. Patt Lilly, also thanked the lawmakers for their work in not only passing legislation that will help their constituency, but for also squashing “a number of bills” that he said would have hurt businesses in St. Joseph.

Mark Zinn can be reached

at mark.zinn@knpn.com.

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