We Have Big Shoes to Fill

This week, we took time out of our normal routine to recognize some of the men and women who have helped shaped the Show-Me State. On Tuesday, the Senate hosted a memorial service for the distinguished former senators who have passed away since April of 2014. Together with the families of the former senators, we celebrated the lawmakers’ lives and legacies and remembered their dedicated service.

After listening to the moving stories told by former Lt. Governor Peter Kinder and former Senate Pro Tem James L. Mathewson, it reminded me that my colleagues and I aren’t the first to sit in these seats, and we won’t be the last. These former senators showed a great deal of enthusiasm for Missouri. They made sacrifices, fought hard for what they believed in, and lived true to the duty of public service. They were mentors, friends, leaders, and we will be forever united together. Always a senator, they will always have a place in history.

Partisan politics aside, this ceremony helped me to remember why were are here in Jefferson City. Many of us ran for office because we believed in a better Missouri. We believed we each could make a small ripple that would eventually transform the Show-Me State.

We sometimes take for granted all of the beauty that surrounds us. This chamber is at the heart of what is the most beautiful capitol building in America. Inside these walls there is so much history. We are still making history today, and we must forever live under the weight of our decisions. Today we have the chance to determine how heavy our load will be. We get to decide how we will forever change Missouri.

This week reminded me that we have some big shoes to fill. In three weeks we will leave this building once again. Our job, at least for a little while, will be done. When we leave, will we be able to say we fought for what we believed in, that we paid attention to details? Did we have the courage to say what needs to be said? And did we rise to the grandeur of the occasion?

As I said in my opening remarks this January, I hope history remembers us for our respect for the institution and the traditions of the Senate. I hope we will be remembered for restoring civility while still speaking passionately about our convictions. I hope history will remember us as having the courage to speak up, and the courage to sit down.


The following members were recognized at this week’s memorial service:

Vince Baker
Mary Groves Bland
Harold Caskey
William Cason
Donald Gralike
John Johnson
Emory Melton
Edward Quick
John T. Russell
John Schneider
Betty Sims
Carl Vogel
Anita Yeckel

To read more about each senator who was remembered, visit the Senate Memorial page.

Senate Leader Ron Richard, R-Joplin

District 32