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Behind the 5

Our political process has become exclusive and the tenor of our discourse has become more divisive than ever. The biggest issues that affect our youth and elderly alike are before our chambers this session. The meetings, the committees and the discussions that will take place around the capitol’s halls will determine the fate of thousands of Missourians. That’s pressure of the highest order and pressure I’m happy to accept. Yes, our allegiances are to different parties, but our commitment to Missouri is what truly governs us.

The introduction of the High 5 bill was my way to combat the ongoing partisan gridlock and find a nuanced approach at making the political process inclusive to the next generation of Missourians. The nature in which we engage in political discourse has left Americans dissatisfied with how we conduct their business. We’ve become apathetic to the idea of actual change and unsympathetic towards any politician who wishes to see it.

First, the “High 5” Bill began as a small initiative to engage our youth into the political process. Along with the constituents of District 73, the youth’s feedback has helped me understand the impact of the decisions that we make as leaders every day.  Involving our youth, in not only the political process but also in their community, is part of a comprehensive approach at improving the lives of those around us.

This year alone, I’ve already introduced measures to develop youth campaigns to address youth delinquency and youth at risk. In fact, here is a list of my full legislative activities for this year alone. All include ways to not only help our children, but develop a future workforce we can all be proud of. The “High 5” initiative is part of my legislative agenda to improve the state of our school systems and finding nuanced approaches at making higher education more affordable to those who seek it. These are some of the bills inspired by the” High 5” initiative and are an attempt to highlight the issues that have plagued our beloved community.

The High 5 bill was also my way in creating a symbolic show of bi partisanship. Election year tends to add fire to the already over-heated political discourse. I admit this measure won’t exactly change the way we live, but can certainly change the way we see each other. It shouldn’t just take a sporting event, an afternoon at church or a few brews at our local bar for us to realize that we are all Missourians, and that we belong to a community we truly care about.

Some may regard HB 1624 as trivial, a stunt, silly or a waste of time, but I honestly believe it’s more than that. It’s the foundation that forces those in Jefferson City to remember what’s at stake; to help remember that even the smallest steps can have the biggest breakthroughs. While we may not agree on everything, we can agree to govern with the dignity that the office deserves.