By Matt Michelson, Government Relations Manager
Elections are behind us, and a new session of the Missouri General Assembly has begun. There are many new faces at the Capitol for MSTA members to get acquainted with. The Government Relations department is working hard to connect members to their legislators and build relationships that will benefit Missouri students, teachers and communities.
The legislature continues to have many former educators, with more added in the recent election, but the work has only begun. Strong voices that supported public education have left due to term limits. Building effective communication and understanding between members and their elected officials can begin with something as simple as inviting a state representative or senator to your class to lead the Pledge of Allegiance or to give a short update to your local CTA. I encourage MSTA members to talk with their legislators about not only the challenges that you face, but also your success and innovation you bring to the classroom. This is a great way to develop a relationship with a newly elected representative, but don’t forget that even seasoned legislators appreciate updates and further information about the communities they serve.
MSTA Action continues to be a weekly source of information regarding the progress of the legislative session and allows members the ability to get up-to-date information on the budget, legislation and reports from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Public School Retirement System.
The MSTA Government Relations department will again assist members with MSTA Capitol Visits. I look forward to briefing members and updating you on the issues that are making their way through the legislature. Members should also be aware that during the session there is the possibility that an MSTA Rapid Response alert could be sent. The Rapid Response system allows MSTA members to quickly and easily contact their legislators to advocate support for public education. Engagement makes a difference, as in the past MSTA members have been successful in advocating for strong public schools, local control of education, and identifying the impact of decisions that are made in Jefferson City on students and teachers.
In the past year, I have made visits to schools across the state. If you would like to schedule MSTA staff to visit your school, please don’t hesitate to contact me at any time through our Member Care Center, 800-392-0532 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.