New State Rep. Aaron Griesheimer, R-Washington, was at the state Capitol last week, but wasn’t doing what you might think — he was painting his new office.
Griesheimer, along with fellow rookie legislators representing Franklin County, John Simmons, R-Krakow, and Dottie Bailey, R-Eureka, are preparing to be sworn in Jan. 9. Griesheimer is looking forward to the start of his first legislative session.
“I’m excited, but it really hasn’t hit me yet,” Griesheimer said. “I’m hoping to learn so much about so many issues.”
Fresh off the biannual statewide freshman legislative tour of the state, Griesheimer says his eyes have been opened to many of the needs in the state and he has spent the last few weeks meeting with school administrators and local leaders.
In those meetings, the importance of transportation in the state and especially in Franklin County was highlighted.
“Transportation is my bread and butter,” Griesheimer said. “It’s the key to economic development and locally we have so many needs.”
Griesheimer said he is working with the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) on a bill that would facilitate an immediate revocation of a driver’s license for anyone who hits a highway employee.
The bill is being generated by MoDOT and sponsored by Griesheimer as a result of the death two years ago of MoDOT contractor Lyndon Ebker outside New Haven.
In mid-December during a meeting of the state Highway Commission in Washington, it was announced that automatic license revocation for drivers who hit a MoDOT employee or contractor will be the state agency’s top legislative priority for 2019.
He hopes to get the bill filed before the session begins Wednesday.
Although this is his first elected office, Griesheimer does have some experience working in Jefferson City and his father, John, served 20 years in the Legislature.
“I always told Dad not to get so worked up about not being able to make everybody happy,” he said. “That reality is starting to hit me for the first time.”
It’s hard to believe a second-term legislator can be referred to as the elder statesman representing Franklin County, but that’s exactly what Nathan Tate, R-St. Clair, is.
“I don’t think anybody is more ready to get back to Jefferson City than I am,” Tate said. “I’ve filed several bills that didn’t make it over the finish line last year and a few new ones as well.”
Tate added not being green to the processes of the Legislature will make it easier to start the session and hit the ground running.
“I definitely have a lot more knowledge and a lot more confidence this session,” Tate said. “Two years ago it seemed like I was drinking from the fire hydrant. This year, I can jump right in and start working on my bills to move them along.”
Tate explained getting a bill from filing to the governor’s desk in a very lengthy process and takes a lot of work.
“Even if a bill has absolutely no issues, it takes 27 steps to get it from start to finish,” he said.
In all, Tate has filed seven bills for this session and like Griesheimer is also working with MoDOT in sponsoring one of their pieces of featured legislation.