Kansas City Star. January 22, 2021.
Editorial: Inaugural speech proved Missouri’s Roy Blunt loves his country. Josh Hawley should listen
Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri was once a history teacher. On Wednesday, at the inauguration of President Joe Biden, Blunt demonstrated his deep and commendable understanding of history, and what it can tell us about the future of our nation.
“We are more than we have been,” Blunt told hundreds of people in the socially-distanced live audience and the millions more watching on television. “And we are less than we hope to be.” He called for unity and common purpose.
He said those words as he stood before a Capitol severely damaged, just two weeks earlier, by anti-American insurrectionists.
Blunt, who chaired the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, is a Republican. He surely understands that disagreement between the parties, and the people, won’t go away because of a few words on Jan. 20.
We will argue with one another soon enough. Blunt may be in the middle of it. He may be challenged in 2022 by misguided zealots in his own party.
But the Missouri senator clearly knows and loves America in a way his junior colleague, Sen. Josh Hawley, never will.
Joined hands can save our nation. A raised fist will destroy it.
Congratulations, Sen. Blunt, for your outstanding work on Inauguration Day.
St. Louis Post Dispatch. January 20, 2021.
Editorial: Even as the Missouri House is forced to pause, GOP leaders refuse mask mandate
Well, that didn’t take long. Just days into its new legislative year, the Missouri House had to cancel its session this week because of a coronavirus outbreak among its members. It comes on the heels of the rejection last week of a proposal to require that members wear masks during House business — a proposal killed by a Republican majority that goes largely maskless around the Capitol.
The Senate Republican majority nonetheless continued its in-person session, as if the coronavirus can be expected to obediently stay on the other side of the Statehouse. Meanwhile, Republican Gov. Mike “You don’t need government to tell you to wear a dang mask” Parson is hellbent on giving an in-person state-of-the-state speech at the end of January, instead of opting prudently to deliver it remotely.
Do Missouri elected officials have to start dying before Republicans end their bizarre political obstinance and start treating the pandemic as the public health crisis it is?
State lawmakers around the country are trying to balance their work with the need to contain the coronavirus, which thrives in the crowded traditional settings of legislative chambers. Some are allowing remote committee testimony, remote floor votes, mandatory masking and testing. But the Missouri Legislature began its four-month spring session on Jan. 6 as if there was nothing to worry about. Even as U.S. deaths exceed 400,000, lawmakers somehow still seem not to understand that the issue is medical, not ideological.
“The Missouri Capitol is a 100-year-old building with windows that do not open in which 400 to 500 people come to work every day — many of whom are still refusing to protect the people around them by wearing masks,” Senate Minority Leader John Rizzo, D-Independence, noted last week. “With numbers like these, there will be an outbreak.”
Which is exactly what has happened. As the Post-Dispatch’s Kurt Erickson reported, the positive coronavirus tests of several House members forced that chamber’s Republican leaders to bow to reality and shut down the session.
When the history of this pandemic is written, a long chapter will be devoted to the lives needlessly endangered or sacrificed by the GOP’s ideological entrenchment against commonsense precautions. Missouri is seeing that tragic obstinance play out in its state capital right now. If and when these infections turn fatal for lawmakers, staff or others, let there be no question about which party owns it.
Jefferson City News Tribune. January 20, 2021.
Editorial: Equalizing the educational playing field
We’re talking about high-speed internet, also known as broadband
If you have it, you likely take it for granted. But if you don’t have it, there’s a fair chance you’re at a disadvantage from an educational or business standpoint.
We’re talking about high-speed internet, also known as broadband.
When COVID-19 forced schools to close and switch to distance learning, it became readily apparent how inadequate our broadband coverage is in parts of rural Missouri.
Put simply, many students don’t have good internet connectivity and aren’t keeping up with their school work.
That’s why it’s good to see Gov. Mike Parson’s Emergency Broadband Investment Program is seeing tangible results.
We recently reported Socket Telecom officials plan to work on future broadband upgrades in Central Missouri after completing projects in St. Martins thanks to state money dedicated for broadband expansion.
Construction started at several St. Martins locations in August through the program, which reimburses providers for work to connect residents in unserved or under-served areas with high-speed internet.
As we reported, Socket received $15,840 to construct a fiber network to the Meadowbrook neighborhood in St. Martins to provide new access to nine households. It also got $31,828 to construct a fiber network to the Verdant Lane neighborhood to provide new access to 19 households.
Parson announced a second round of broadband funding in October, which provided Socket with close to $130,000 for two more projects around St. Martins.
Our library system is known as the “great equalizer” because it allows anyone to attain knowledge. Broadband internet, likewise, helps to equal the playing field, especially for students.
We’re glad to see Parson’s program is delivering results in our area and throughout rural Missouri.