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Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016

Resignation is loss for Eighth District

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My first reaction on hearing of Rep. Jo Ann Emerson's sudden resignation was to send an obscenity-laced email to the state GOP headquarters.

Granted, it was a tad bit over-the-top knee-jerk reaction to the announcement.

But I felt betrayed.

Like many political observers in our little corner of the world, it was the timing of the resignation that stoked my frustration.

Hadn't we supported and defended and promoted the Congresswoman just a mere month ago?

The political winds of change had demoralized many area conservatives in November. But at least we had Jo Ann Emerson to voice our concerns and fight our fights.

But no more.

Some in the Missouri Congressional delegation - Todd Akins, Lacy Clay and Emmanuel Cleaver - had all enjoyed less than favorable headlines through the years.

But not Jo Ann Emerson.

She may have been less conservative than I liked but she avoided the pitfalls of Washington, D.C., and rose to a position of seniority and influence. In the blink of an eye, all of that was gone.

The jockeying to replace her has begun in full force.

I'm told by those who should know that Emerson's decision to leave the seat was made following - not before - the November elections.

I can accept that in part. But only in part.

I don't fault Emerson for accepting a new challenge in a new arena.

Yet even die-hard supporters are scratching their collective heads over the sudden and shocking announcement.

Few in Congress rise to a position of power and influence overnight. It takes years of service to land the chairmanships that can truly shape our national direction.

Our district had finally invested enough in our representative to reach that point of influence.

And now we begin anew.

There are no certainties in politics. Southeast Missouri residents were reminded of this reality last week.

Jo Ann Emerson was more than just popular in the district. To her credit, she was a well-oiled political machine.

With little concern for ever losing this seat and with ample support on both sides of the aisle, Emerson was our calm in the often stormy world of politics.

But no more.

As I reflect on this political bombshell for our district, I am reminded of the word commitment.

And I'll leave it at that!

Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen