(Photo by Michelle Felter, Staff)
SIKESTON -- When she was elected in 2006, Rep. Ellen Brandom of the 160th District promised voters to bring their needs to Jefferson City, and also bring the Capitol to them.
"Today, I am proud to say that together, we have done just that," said Brandom. She was the featured speaker Thursday at the monthly luncheon for the Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce.
Set to run unopposed for a second term in office on Nov. 4, Brandom she looks forward to keeping that promise for her next term.
A key issue Brandom worked on was the Missouri HealthNet bill. She noted that locals were involved through a town hall meeting and other measures, and, as a result of the involvement, the bill was signed into law in Sikeston, at Ferguson Medical Group.
But the need for health care legislation continues. "House members are already working on new health care legislation with official meetings starting on day one of the 2009 session," said Brandom.
She also spoke of the need for economic development to keep the economy thriving. Brandom has invited fellow lawmaker Ron Richard, chairman of the interim committee on job development and economic development, to talk to Sikeston community and business leaders, who were able to give their input on the needs for the area.
"A top priority when the session starts in January is the continued expansion of tax incentives for development of new business and the growth of existing business," said Brandom.
Other visits to the district by high-ranking officials, spurred by Brandom, included: Doyle Childers, director of the Department of Natural Resources; and Rep. Neal St. Onge, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, to discuss highways and the bridge connecting Kentucky and Missouri.
Due to a relationship with House Majority Leader Steve Tilley, who has also become a friend to Sikeston, Brandom said, the city secured a $400,000 loan to reduce the debt for the Southeast Missouri State University-Sikeston campus.
Brandom pointed out that, as a member of the interim committee of senior services, she also wanted to be sure senior groups could address their concerns. So, she hosted a meeting at the Sikeston Senior Citizen Nutrition Center.
And she said that she is open to hearing any ideas -- whether here at home, or if it requires a trip to Jefferson City to meet other leaders.
"I want every one of you to please share your ideas and input," she said. "It takes that extra effort, and if you all will pitch in and help, we can get things done. It is up to us to keep making our voices heard, every session until we get what we need."
And she intends to do that, too.
"As I return to Jefferson City in January, I will be bringing once again the people's voice of the 160th to the Missouri lawmaking bodies," said Brandom. "Such issues as clean air, energy, clean coal, hydroelectric power and energy alternatives, tax incentives for jobs and affordable healthcare all remain on the forefront."
In other news at Thursday's luncheon:
Missy Marshall, executive director of the SACC, noted the magazine will no longer be called "Images." The new name is "The Avenue -- where Sikeston and Miner meet and Southern Hospitality begins."
There will also be a new printer this year -- Concord Publishing in Cape Girardeau. Beth Prince of Concord will begin working to sell ads in the area, and letters will go out soon to businesses that have previously advertised in the publication.
And when it comes to purchasing ads, businesses will be pleased. "They are still a good quality, but a lower price," noted Marshall.
The magazines will be released in April.
Marshall also displayed a Sikeston Sesquicentennial T-shirt. "This is the first of many items for the celebration you will see," she said.
The chamber recently made a T-shirt order and they will be available for purchase at the office for $10 each within the next two weeks, said Marshall.
- There are quite a few upcoming events and anything the SACC is aware of is posted on its site, www.sikeston.net. Marshall also noted site blasts are sent out each week, and anyone who is not on the list can call the office to be added.