By Matt Michelson, Government Relations Manager

The MSTA Annual Convention and Assembly of Delegates kicked off the new year for the government relations department. The newly adopted legislative priorities guide MSTA lobbyists while working with the Missouri legislature, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Public Schools & Education Employee Retirement Systems of Missouri. These legislative priorities, drafted by the Education Policy Committee, are crafted from the MSTA Adopted Resolutions that are voted on at the Assembly of Delegates each year by delegates at the MSTA Convention.

You can ensure your voice is heard in Jefferson City by staying up to date on the latest developments in the legislature by reading MSTA Action, emailed to all members each Friday during session from January to May. To make an even greater impact on education policy, members are encouraged to attend a Capitol Visit. Each MSTA Region sponsors a Capitol Visit while the legislature is in session with a briefing from MSTA lobbyists on bills moving through the Capitol and the most current information on the state budget.

This year, MSTA is utilizing new technology to power MSTA Rapid Response and connect members to their elected officials. To be a part of this program, members are encouraged to text MSTA to 52886. The MSTA Rapid Response program has successfully allowed members to have their voices heard and allows MSTA government relations staff to quickly and effectively relay information on education legislation that impacts Missouri’s students, teachers and communities and enable members to connect to their elected representatives.

In addition to working with the legislature, the government relations department works with PSRS/PEERS to advocate for MSTA members. Dr. Aaron Zalis and Yvonne Heath will be retiring from the board later this year. The MSTA Board of Directors has endorsed two candidates to serve on the Public School & Education Employee Retirement Systems of Missouri Board of Trustees. Darren Farmer, Cowgill, has 22 years of experience as an agriculture education instructor and is currently teaching in Polo R-7 and serves on the MSTA Impact Committee. Dr. Melinda Moss is the current superintendent at the Joplin School District. Dr. Moss worked in several southwest Missouri schools as a principal and counselor. MSTA will work to ensure both of these highly qualified education professionals have the signatures required to become candidates and well-funded and robust campaigns.

I look forward to working with MSTA members to advocate for and empower public educators so they can teach. The government relations department is ready to continue to tell the stories of the great teachers across our state. If you have questions or concerns regarding PSRS/PEERS, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Missouri government or elections, please don’t hesitate to contact me at any time.

Visit Bunker Hill in 2019