Being a lifelong resident of Southeast Missouri, it is very obvious to me we live in an agricultural area. Farmers provide food and goods we appreciate very much. With more efficient and larger equipment requiring less labor to operate, farms provide fewer jobs than they once did. Working on a farm was once a big part of employment in this region.
This is no longer the case. Farm-related jobs are a small part of the employment picture in southeast Missouri.
This leads me to what our current elected state and federal officials seem to have chosen as their top priority when choosing legislative matters. For the past several years articles in local newspapers touting their achievements are always something to do with agriculture.
Don't get me wrong, as I have already mentioned, agriculture is a very important part of southeast Missouri. But, this region has lost several factories that have been around for years. These jobs provided families with wages and benefits that are essential in being able to support a family.
Absence of good paying jobs makes it very difficult to provide for a family.
Our current representatives seem to have directed all their attention to agriculture and away from policy that creates "real jobs" for thousands of families in southeast Missouri that are without. Emerson Electric in Kennett and Federal Mogul in Malden are latest examples of lost jobs.
When we start discussing family values, providing families with gainful employment should be at the top of the list. Allowing companies to move to Mexico with the sole purpose of exploiting workers for more profits without stiff penalties should be included in "moral value" debate. Lost jobs can have a direct effect on every member of a family. Providing stable employment to the area should be a very important part of our elected officials agenda.
If you go by lost jobs in our region the last several years, and the only accomplishments we ever read about in newspapers are agriculture related, we have no other choice than to believe what our current representatives top priorities are. We need to hear about a new factory opening that will supply these families with much needed good paying jobs.
We need to read about legislation that will stop these companies from pulling out and moving our jobs to Mexico. We need to read about how this region is gaining employment opportunities and how a new factory is opening instead of closing its doors.
I think it is time to elect some new state and federal representatives who enact policy and legislation that help and empower ALL citizens of southeast Missouri. Farming provides a small portion of employment in our area. We have people in need of good paying jobs. Let's elect representatives that can see beyond agriculture and help the many needy families that would love to have secure employment to support their families. We have an opportunity to do this on November 7.