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Friday, Aug. 29, 2014

Time is up for Myers in state House

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

(Photo)
Peter Myers
SIKESTON -- Missouri's 94th General Assembly begins Jan. 3, and for the first time in eight years, Peter Myers won't be there.

Term limits forced the 160th District state representative out of office for the new legislative session.

"I'll miss the people, but I won't miss getting up early Monday mornings (to drive to Jefferson City) and coming home Thursday afternoons," said Myers, whose term officially ends Sunday.

Since he was elected in 1998, Myers has represented residents of portions of Cape Girardeau, New Madrid and Scott counties through his service on various House of Representatives committees, including agriculture, appropriations and budget.

Among accomplishments Myers said he is most proud of is the passage of the recent ethanol bill, which he primarily authored. The bill requires all gasoline sold in Missouri after Jan. 1, 2008, to be an ethanol-blend containing at least 10 percent fuel ethanol.

The Sikeston resident said he is also quite proud of the bill passed for the development of the Sikeston Jaycee Regional Dialysis Center at Missouri Delta Medical Center, which opened in 2003.

"It was a state-owned piece of ground, and I shepherded that bill," Myers recalled.

Even though Myers served as chair of the agriculture committee for the past four years, he's been involved in other issues.

"The things I worked on were not just agriculture but whatever made sense and needed to be debated -- and we did. ... You just try to have good legislation and don't worry about who gets the credit," Myers said.

It's hard to remember every piece of legislation and detail over his eight years in office, Myers admitted.

"The House was controlled by Democrats when I first went there, and I concentrated on agriculture and environmental issues," Myers said.

Myers said one memory that sticks out in his mind over the past eight years is his first day on the House floor.

"It was a new experience, and it was exciting. I was very nervous," Myers said.

Prior to being elected state representative, Myers worked for several years as deputy secretary of agriculture for the United States Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C.

"It was different sitting on the floor of the House on Representatives," Myers said, comparing the two jobs. "Before, I always had to get permission to talk to somebody on the floor and now I didn't have to have that permission."

Myers said he's fortunate for the many friendships he developed over the years.

"Together with my friend, (161st District State Rep.) Lanie Black of Charleston, we rode back and forth from Jefferson City. It was really an advantage to ride with another representative," Myers said.

Myers said Black's real forte was in transportation while Myers' was in agriculture.

"Even though we weren't on the same committees, we shared information back and forth, and I think it was very important to do that," Myers said.

Black, whose eight-year run also ends Sunday, said, for him, the car rides were an opportunity to get a five-hour conversation to and from Jefferson City "with a guy who brought an awful lot of knowledge to the table."

"In my opinion, Peter Myers did an incredible job for agriculture in the state of Missouri," Black said.

Black said he has a lot of respect for Myers. "He's honest. He's just an exceptionally fine human being."

September was Myers' last time as a representative on the House floor, he said. In November, Myers cleaned out his office, which for the past four years was located on the third floor overlooking the Missouri River.

As his long run as state representative comes to an end, Myers said he would like to be remembered as someone the people could trust.

"I want people to remember me as being a straightforward, honest, ethical person and a Christian," Myers said.

Born in Racine, Wis., today Myers lives with his wife, Mary, in Sikeston. They have five children and 11 grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. Myers commended his wife for all of her support over the years.

Myers will turn 76 on Jan. 4 and has no intentions of slowing down.

"We're putting a biodiesel plant in at Lilbourn. It's a farmer-owned cooperative. There's 180 or 190 farmers who've invested in it. We hope to have it in production by April 1," said Myers, who is the treasurer of the cooperative.

In addition Myers said he will continue managing farms through Myers Land Management Co., and he also has a few other goals.

"I'm going to play golf with my grandsons and fish with the other one," Myers said. "I want to be a good husband and father as best I can."