Jeanette Mott Oxford for State Representative 2010

Saturday, February 14, 2009

JMO4Rep Update - Valentine's Day Edition - 2009

Friends, Constituents, and Allies,

It's Valentine's Day weekend, and it's truer than ever:

What the world needs now
is love, sweet love
It's the only thing that there's just too little of......

I'm wishing you all a wonderful weekend with those you love. May our caring transform the world around us and within us.

This will be a long update because a lot has been happening and because I have received many e-mails asking me for details about the stories related to me that have been running in the Post-Dispatch, on KWMU-FM, etc. For those new to the JMO4Rep Update, you will not normally have to wade through this much material. And remember I will quickly remove any from the list who request removal.

A not-so-funny thing happened on the way to my committee assignments

As I told you in my Jan. 19 update, Speaker of the House Ron Richard refused to honor Minority Floor Leader Paul LeVota's recommendation that I be assigned to the House Special Standing Committee on Children and Families (C & F). I was the only returning Democrat to seek a slot on the committee, a committee on which I have served faithfully for four years.

I also have around 30 years of experience as a paid professional and as a community volunteer working on children and family issues, particularly poverty, so one would think I would be a desirable member of C & F.

In sharing the news with Democratic leaders that I was not named to that committee, a staff member for the Speaker said "Some of our members find her highly offensive." That staff member and the Speaker now deny that this statement was ever made, but I believe the folks who tell me they heard it. What was meant by the statement is unclear, and no one has said on the record which members have a problem with me although a variety of rumors and allegations have been brought to me. Some I believe. Some I do not.

For the first 10 days after the decision was made, I did much quiet diplomacy in the Capitol Building, trying to get my position on C & F back. I met with the chair of the committee, Rep. Cynthia Davis. I met with Speaker Richard. Several House colleagues advocated for me, including trusted GOP-friends. Unfortunately the decision did not change.

The Speaker first named Rep. Belinda Harris to the committee, but she respectfully declined it due to too many other committees. Another Democratic representative was recruited, and he too declined. Finally, when the Speaker said he would not put me back on the committee, Rep. Mike Corcoran agreed to take it, and he has asked me to consult with him regularly since this will be his first time to serve on C & F.

The story about the Speaker's decision made its way to the media, and a series of newspaper and radio interviews have followed. You can read some of the coverage at:

(In case the mention of my walking with a cane worries you, rest assured that my knee surgery in fall 2007 left me with much less pain than I've had for years, and I only use the cane when negotiating stairways that do not have railings or when very fatigued.)

I was honored that Rep. LeVota decided to name me Ranking Member of the committee even though I am not being allowed to serve on it. You can read about that at:

And finally you can watch Speaker Richard answering questions about why I am not on the committee:

Many have asked how they can help me fight this injustice. You are welcome to write letters expressing your disappointment to Speaker Richard or Rep. Davis as well as letters to the editor to your local newspapers. I believe good government demands that leaders be accountable for decisions that are not rooted in what's best for the state. A couple of advocacy groups are also conducting campaigns, and if you want to join their efforts, see:


"Job Development" bill passes on House side

I was one of 19 representatives voting no on House Bill 191, a package of tax credit programs put forward as a job creation bill. I have yet to see the evidence that these kinds of programs are effective, and I have seen much demonstrating waste, failure, and blatant greed in similar programs.

I tried to offer a "clawback" amendment during the perfection process on the bill - an amendment that would force companies to pay back the credit if they failed to produce the promised jobs. The amendment was ruled out of order.

During Third Reading (final passage in the House) I asked the sponsor of the bill if accountability measures were anywhere in the bill, and he said no. He agreed with me that we need reform of our tax credits programs so that they work with greater transparency and accountability.

I promised to work with him on such a bill.

I was interviewed by Associated Press about the bill (which has now moved to the Senate for further amendment and debate), and you can read that story at:

Two days spent debating non-binding resolution about a non-existent federal bill

With Missouri's economy in crisis, House members took two days this week to debate and pass (116-40) a non-binding resolution telling President Obama and the U.S. Congress that Missouri opposes the "Freedom of Choice Act" (FOCA). This is a federal bill that has been filed in previous years, but has not been filed as of yet in 2009. I guess you can tell I thought this was a huge waste of time and that I voted no. The sponsors of the resolution claimed that FOCA would undo laws that Missouri has passed to limit or regulate abortion. Legal opinions I have read stated that this was not so; any law Missouri passed that was not struck down by the courts would not be overturned by FOCA. Several amendments focusing on comprehensive sex education and pregnancy prevention were ruled out of order during the debate.

Legislation filed - and a special hearing coming up on Feb. 18

I have filed several bills and co-sponsored many others. You can see the
full list at:

I still have a few more bills to file, but I am also focusing on getting hearings for those already filed. I am excited that Rep. Joe Smith, chair of the House Standing Committee on Tax Reform, has offered a hearing for House Bill 567 on Wednesday, Feb. 18. This is the Tax Justice for a Healthy Missouri tax revision plan that I have filed in previous years as well. The bill would:

- Create a more modern income tax system. (Presently our top tax bracket starts at $9,000 annually, an amount set in 1931.)
- Offer a refundable tax credit that would increase household income available to many families in the bottom 60% of wage-earners.
- Move Missouri's tax system toward fairness and adequacy by asking those in the wealthiest 20% of Missourians to take on a tax burden similar to that of the bottom 80%.
- Produce a billion dollars of revenue that could be used for healthcare, education, and other crucial state needs.

This year the bill is receiving support from Missourians for Tax Justice and the Tax Justice for a Healthy Missouri Coalition and also from The Long Spoons Coalition, a campaign of people of faith who view the state budget as a moral issue. I helped found this group along with Rabbi Susan Talve and Rev. John Bennett. Read more about "Long Spoons" and see details about HB 567 at:
(That's also the link to join the coalition.)

I also have been told that a commentary about Long Spoons that Rabbi Talve and I wrote will appear in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch next week, so watch for that.

Upcoming Legislation

One of the most important issues we will debate this year is whether to overturn the "Construction Work in Progress" statute, a consumer protection law won by the voters in the 1970's. The proposed legislation calls for AmerenUE customers to begin paying now for the construction costs of a second Callaway nuclear power plant that may or may not be built several years from now. Rate increases under the plan have been
estimated at 15 to 40%. I have many concerns about the plan and urge you to get educated on this issue. Some places to start are:


Surrounding Our Schools With Care Update

Like many of you, I am distressed about the proposal to close around 30 St. Louis Public Schools. I am meeting with Principal Sonya Wayne of Shenandoah Elementary next week as well as touring Monroe Elementary. I am in regular communication with Principal Carol Hall-Whittier of Shepard E-mints, and DeAndress Green, my in-district aide, has been attending public meetings about the proposed closings on my behalf while I am in Jefferson City. I welcome your thoughts on the proposed school closings
and your invitation to join you in actions that you are taking.

The March Mayoral Primary

The mayor primary continues to be lively and worth studying carefully. I have found it helpful to make reading The St. Louis American a part of my weekly routine for some time now. They have been providing interesting perspectives on the mayoral race, and I recommend that you follow their coverage, including this article from the most recent edition:

Job Announcement

My friends at Preferred Family Health Care have asked me to share the following job announcement:

Our Rehabilitation Technicians assist in serving the needs of individuals with substance abuse diagnosis in both outpatient and inpatient environments by assisting the Clinical Team in assigned treatment procedures and providing feedback, preparing the treatment area(s), cleaning areas, providing ongoing monitoring and supervision of client population and providing orientation to clients served. Other responsibilities include facilitating educational and recreational groups and providing transportation. Part-time shifts are available for days, evenings, weekends, and overnights. A high school diploma or GED is required. Experience in Human Service related fields is preferred.

Full and Part time positions at both our City location at Northrup and our St. Charles residential program are available. These positions typically pay $8.50 an hour, and the full time position would include benefits.

Those interested should contact Kelly Bell at or 636-946-6376 Also candidates can apply on line at

In closing

Again, my thank to all who have provided kind words and acts of support in recent days. I am thankful to have so many friends and allies.