Jeanette Mott Oxford for State Representative 2010

Friday, March 20, 2009

JMO4Rep Update - 2009 Budget Battle Edition

Friends, Constituents, and Allies,

Missouri House of Representatives Budget Chair Allen Icet and GOP leadership are proposing over $300 million in cuts to health care and critical state services. GOP leadership must hear from you immediately if we are going to prevent these cuts. The budget bills move to the House floor the week of March 24!

Rep. Icet and majority party House leaders are doing the opposite of what our economy needs. They are eliminating more than 3,700 jobs and cutting over $300 million in critical state services that are vital to laid off workers and families. These cuts turn away billions of dollars of federal funding to shore up Missouri's economy over the next few years. 70,000 Missourians will lose services or have them reduced.

These cuts are unnecessary. Federal economic recovery money is available so that not one service, job or person has to be cut. But key Missouri legislative leaders refuse to use federal recovery act dollars as they were intended.

Cuts they are proposing include:
$4.4 million to Medicaid funding to provide services to Medicaid-eligible patients. This cut will jeopardize $7.8 million in federal Medicaid funds available to Missouri.
$1.8 million for Home and Community Based Services for Seniors and People with Developmental Disabilities.
$2.0 million to Area Agencies on Aging which will reduce services for seniors including transportation, home delivered meals, health promotion and more.
$48.7 million to Mental Health Services, affecting thousands of children and adults with severe mental illness or developmental disabilities.

In addition, they have eliminated funding Gov. Jay Nixon proposed that would expand health insurance coverage to 34,000 working parents. The Missouri Hospital Association volunteered to pay Missouri’s share of the cost so that the cost to taxpayers was zero. This proposal would have brought almost $98 million in federal funds to our state.

There are cuts and shenanigans going on with the education budget too:
Last year $5 million was cut from professional development for teachers, and this year they've taken away the remaining $15 million to zero out the program. Outrageous! Teacher training is a proven way to reduce achievement disaparities that relate to race/ethnicity and income as well as to improve all educational outcomes.

Yet another penny-wise pound-foolish mistake in the budget championed by Rep. Icet.
The House Republican budget uses more than $500 million in federal funds to replace general revenue that normally would fund the school foundation formula. (They are unwilling to do this with social services, health, and mental health, but are doing it with education - a strange inconsistency.)

In addition to using federal funds to supplant state spending on education, GOP leadership is playing a shell game with the Proposition A casino revenue approved by voters in November. Voters were promised the money would be additional revenue for public schools but instead it is being used to replace $108 million in general revenue for other non-education purposes.

You can read more about this at:

For a very detailed analysis of the proposed cuts, go to:

Of course I plan to fight these cuts and to vote no if we cannot amend the funds back into the budget. But Democrats have little chance to succeed because Rep. Icet is very determined to make the cuts happen and because there are 89 Republicans and only 74 Democrats in the House.

Therefore we have to reach GOP leaders if changes are to be made.

Here's what to do
Write, e-mail, or call these House leaders who have proposed or supported the cuts and who have the power to stop them from happening:

- House Budget Chair Allen Icet: 636-519-0002;

- House Budget Vice-chair Rick Stream: 314-822-0556;

- Speaker of the House Ron Richard: 417-781-0206;

- Speaker Pro Tem Bryan Pratt: 816-220-1099;

Each may also be written by snail mail at:
The Honorable [Representative's Name]
House of Representatives
Jefferson City, MO 65101

The most effective thing you can do is to call or write a letter. E-mails are the next choice for effective advocacy. (Since they take less time, they carry less weight with legislators.) If you cannot take time to personally write, call, or visit these House leaders about the budget cuts, then by all means use this e-mail tool from St. Louis Area Jobs with Justice:

While cookie-cutter e-mails are less effective, volume counts! If legislators receive these in large numbers, they get attention.

You may be interested in the related commentary that I co-authored which ran in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on March 12:

The Post-Dispatch also published this good editorial on March 16, although I think there may be a mistake in how the part about the offer from the Missouri Hospital Association is stated:

Making Your Voice Heard on the Federal Recovery Funds

Senator Claire McCaskill's office has shared the following information
about the federal recovery funds -

Governor Nixon’s office released an analysis of how Missouri will benefit from the stimulus bill. It details how the state stabilization, Medicaid, education, and other dollars work. The dollar amounts in this document are estimates and based on the best information the state had available. It’s a public document that you can find at the website below:

Also the State of Missouri has created a new website to highlight their use of stimulus dollars, collect project submissions, and help Missourians apply for stimulus dollars at the federal level. That website is:

Update on Children and Families Committee Situation

For those curious about whether I have been restored to membership on the Special Standing Committee on Children and Families, I have not. I do however continue to serve as Ranking Democrat to the committee, and I am very proud of the service that Representatives Corcoran, Schupp, McNeil, Webb, and McDonald are providing on some very hard issues. Last Thursday they all voted against House Bill 30, a poorly conceived bill about drug testing recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. This legislation plays on common prejudices about families in poverty and
offers punishment without adequate resources for help. The bill will probably cause more children to go into foster care while doing little to help their parents.

There's a long waiting list for many addiction recovery programs - and those programs are needed by people of every economic level, of course. Those in poverty are no more likely to use drugs than other economic classes.

Thanks for all your letters, e-mails, and calls to the offices of Speaker of the House Ron Richard and Rep. Cynthia Davis. Even though we have not won on this issue, I sense that I am being treated with more respect this year, and I believe your advocacy for me has played a role in that. I also hope that I am invited back onto the committee in the 2010 Legislative Session, and you've certainly put Speaker Richard on notice on this issue.

Sylvester Brown of the Post-Dispatch interviewed me and wrote a column about the situation. You can find it at:

Surrounding Our Schools with Care Update

I have been very busy carrying out my Surrounding Our Schools with Care (SOS Care) commitments:

- On February 20 I visited with Principal Sonya Wayne of Shenandoah Elementary School. We discussed the proposed school closings as well as progress being made by Principal Wayne and her faculty and students. (I was glad to see Shenandoah taken off the list of schools to be closed.)

- Later that morning I toured Monroe Elementary School and asked Principal Gerald Arbini to brief me on the school's history, accomplishments and challenges as well as his experience of working in St. Louis Public Schools. Worth noting: Monroe is significantly outperforming nearby charter schools. (I am glad that Monroe will remain open.)

- On March 2, I met with St. Louis Public Schools Superintendant Dr. Kelvin Adams at his offices to share my concerns about proposed school closings in the 59th District and to brief him on the SOS Care challenge in which several state and local elected officials are participating.

- Later that day I visited with People for Public Education in Hearing Room 2 of the Capitol Building.

- On March 7, I participated in the Save Our Schools rally and march that began at Shepard e-Mints Academy and proceeded on to Monroe, Carnahan High School, Meramec Elementary, and Cleveland High School (where John Chen and Alderwoman Dorothy Kirner spoke of their efforts to get the school re-opened as a collection of schools within a school, plus a one-stop-shop of neighborhood services). Special thanks to Alderman Craig Schmid for all his efforts to organize this special day, and thanks to the approximately 100 persons who participated.

- My in-district aide DeAndress Green recently attend Literacy Day at Roosevelt High School and presented House Courtesy Resolutions to the Marine Corp ROTC Color Guard and Drill Team and their Master Sgt. School Board Endorsements: Even though they have currently been disempowered, it is important that we elect highly qualified people in
preparation for the day when management of the district will return to the elected board of education. On Tuesday, April 7 (or by absentee ballot before that date), I suggest that you vote for:

- Chad Beffa (his wife is a teacher, his children are students in SLPS, and he's a long-time public schools advocate I have worked with for some time)

- Emile Bradford-Taylor (she is a parent of a child in SLPS and an R.N. - met her at the Save Our Schools rally and see passion and commitment in her)

- Rebecca Rogers (Professor of Literacy Education in the College of Education at UM-SL; just spent three days in a community organizing training with her, and I am very impressed)

I have further details about each candidate and will share them upon request to this e-mail address.

Ways to make an important difference at Roosevelt High School: The Roosevelt High School Community Council is looking for area residents who enjoy helping young people, to volunteer to tutor high school students at our own Roosevelt High School (3230 Hartford Street). The subject areas are basic math, pre-algebra and algebra. Volunteers are asked to volunteer for two hours per day, one or two days per week, for a semester at a time. Tutors will be provided with a lesson plan for each session and all necessary materials for instruction. All volunteer tutors will be
screened through the St. Louis Public Schools, which includes a background check. A flyer with more detailed information is attached.

For more information or to volunteer, please contact Katie Kappel at

katiekappel AT

The Roosevelt High School Community Council is an organization that formed in Spring 2007, through the efforts of the Tower Grove East Neighborhood Association board, joined by the Benton Park West Neighborhood Association and residents of other nearby neighborhoods, teachers and administrators at the school, and several aldermen and a
state representative. For more information, contact Norah Ryan at
norah.ryan AT

Women Legislators of Missouri Offer Scholarships:

Young women graduating high school this year may apply for a $500 scholarship from the Women Legislators of Missouri. The deadline to apply is April 15. Please send
request for details to jeanette.oxford AT One scholarship will
be awarded in each of Missouri's nine Congressional districts.

Mayoral Endorsement

Here are the principles I use in deciding when and whether to endorse:
What has been the political history of the candidate who is seeking my endorsement? What legislation has she/he sponsored if previously in office?
Do he/she have a reputation for honesty, transparency, and keeping commitments made to others?
Does the candidate have a history of social justice activism or public policy advocacy for the common good?
Has the candidate worked to get social justice advocates elected?
Will the candidate’s presence in elected office enrich our diversity by adding a voice from an under-represented category of citizens (women, People of Color, LGBT citizens, religious minorities, etc.)?
Is the candidate working hard and making good use of low-cost grassroots campaign methods?
Is the candidate’s opponent someone who has a particularly appalling track record?

Looking at the April 7 vote for Mayor of the City of St. Louis by this criteria, I endorse Maida Coleman, a Democrat who opted to run as an independent after a woman with the same last name filed to run in the Democratic primary. As a former state representative and senator, Maida Coleman had a great record of offering and voting for legislation that promotes social and economic justice.

She has worked to help progressives get elected (most recently Sen. Robin Wright-Jones - clearly the best choice in the August 2008 primary for Senate 5 - and she also went out on a limb to endorse me in 2000, an election I lost, but that prepared me to win in 2004).

She is running a low-cost grassroots campaign against our current mayor, a man with a deep, deep campaign war chest of funds. Maida would be the first African American woman to be mayor of St. Louis.

I have been greatly disappointed by Mayor Slay's leadership. He has ignored the economic evidence from other cities in advocating for the use of tax dollars to build a new ballpark for the baseball Cardinals. He has continually been tone deaf around race relations in St. Louis - hitting the sourest notes of all with his dismissal of Fire Chief Sherman George.

He has built coalitions with a variety of wealthy interests, pressing for an agenda that benefited themselves whether it benefited our City and region or not. His choices around our public schools have hurt rather than helped. He was slow to intervene in the Police Department's towing scandal and worked to weaken needed legislation to create a civilian oversight board for that department. He recently did not show up for a meeting of mayors called by President Obama - a meeting in which details about the urban recovery portion of the federal stimulus package was
shared. His reason? He stayed in St. Louis to attend a fundraiser with about 50 supporters, including some connected to Rex Sinquefield, and to be at the Mardi Gras Ball the next night. I believe if the President invited me to such a meeting, I would clear my calendar. Surely it's time to try a new mayor.

For those who ask about my party loyalty for choosing a candidate who is not the official Democratic party nominee, I have always worked with people of any party when we have a shared concern about social and economic justice. I also have to wonder where Slay's party loyalty was when he wrote an endorsement-like letter of praise for Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder just before the fall elections - a letter published in the St. Louis Business Journal. Kinder has not earned similar high marks from me.

For more information about Maida Coleman's campaign, to request a yard sign, volunteer, or donate, go to:

An Announcement from ReVitalize St. Louis

Big BIG Tour, St Louis' only FREE City-wide tour of for-sale properties will kick off its Tenth Annual Tour on Sunday, March 29 from 10am to 3pm.

The starting point is Mullanphy ILC Elementary School, located at 4221 Shaw Boulevard near Missouri Botanical Garden. Mullanphy School is a great central location, allowing attendees to easily explore the Big BIG Tour properties listed throughout the City.

Accompanying the Tour is the very popular Homebuyers Expo located at the starting point. The Expo is a chance for real-estate related services, local businesses, non-profits and schools to connect directly with the home-buying public. To familiarize themselves with the home-buying process, attendees can arrive early to talk with realtors, review financing options, meet with neighborhood and community organziations, as well as check out information on local schools. All visitors will be invited to register to win fabulous prizes.

If you have a for sale property located in the City of St. Louis that you would like to place on the Big BIG Tour, it only costs $15! If you are listing lofts or a multi-family property, the fee is $15.00 for each unit that will be held open for the Tour. We are again providing flexible open house hours this year and a "by appointment" choice is also offered. You will find these choices in the form when you submit your listing information. Go to for all the

Hurry to place your listings! Deadline is midnight tomorrow night, March 19!

From: Claralyn Bollinger
President, ReVitalize St. Louis & resident of 34xx Humphrey St.

In Closing

Several grassroots organizations that I care about are having Lobby Days next week (PROMO, MASW, etc.). I hope to see you then! If you can't make it during the week of March 24, I look forward to seeing you whenever you do come to Jefferson City. My office number is 135BB, and my Legislative Assistant Karen Rehagen will be glad to track me down so we can meet face-to-face. I also look forward to meeting with you in district and welcome your call to schedule an appointment.