Tony Luetkemeyer’s first session as state senator saw the Republican dive into the legislative process, sponsoring more than a dozen bills and securing deals on several other measures.
The 35-year-old attorney is serving in his freshman year of a four-year term in the Missouri General Assembly’s upper chamber, representing both Buchanan and Platte counties in the Senate.
Two of Luetkemeyer’s bills made it to the finish line, a bill that modifies aspects of the discovery phase of the legal process, as well as a measure that will ask voters to decide whether to apply term limits to all of Missouri’s six statewide-elected officials.
When asked by News-Press NOW what he was surprised by following his first session as an elected official, Luetkemeyer said he was encouraged by the camaraderie.
“It’s funny, in today’s political environment, you hear about all of this hyper-partisanship, where nobody gets along,” he said. “One of the things that I found out, and I thought was very refreshing, was that actually people do get along pretty well in Jefferson City.”
“Whether it’s other Democrats or fellow Republicans, people work really well together,” Luetkemeyer said of his colleagues. “We certainly have those issues that we disagree on, but we’re able to get along, get things done and move the state forward.”
He said the local lawmaking delegation is especially team-oriented.
“There’s a real team environment right now with the Northwest Missouri legislative delegation,” said Luetkemeyer. “We worked on a lot of pieces of legislation together.”
Luetkemeyer, whose Senate district encompasses both Buchanan and Platte counties, said him and fellow Senator Dan Hegeman, R-Cosby, were able to partner with the three representatives from St. Joseph — State Reps. Bill Falkner, Sheila Solon and Brenda Sheilds — to advance legislation with local appeal. Specifically, Luetkemeyer said the all-Republican delegation came together on the St. Joseph Land Bank LLC registration and teacher externships.
The freshman GOP senator tallied up other legislative wins passed by the General Assembly, including measures relating flood relief, workforce development and education funding.
“We fully funded the foundation formula, which funds K-12 education,” Luetkemeyer said, “and gave a core increase to all the four-year universities and colleges in Missouri.”
Both Missouri Western State University and Northwest Missouri State University saw increased appropriations of roughly $1 million each. Additionally, Luetkemeyer touted a $550,000 state-funded grant to Missouri Western’s nursing program.