Government Relations

UM Legislative Update Newsletter

January 28, 2005

Boone County Alumni Chapter hosts legislative forum

The legislators addressed a number of higher education issues including the budget, how alumni can best communicate with lawmakers to promote the University of Missouri, and opinions on the name changes for various higher education institutions.

Legislators commented on the budget recommendations given by Gov. Matt Blunt in the State of the State address. Republican panelists explained the importance of bringing the state budget into balance while protecting education and higher education funding, and Democratic panelists raised questions about the Medicaid and departmental cuts and concerns about the impact they will have on Missourians.

The panelists all agreed on the important role higher education and the University of Missouri play in the state and in their districts. Rep. Shoemyer emphasized the role of Extension and the importance of the University’s research. Rep. Hobbs noted strong programs in areas such as agriculture, nursing and medicine as well as Extension. Rep. Harris talked about how the University’s comprehensive nature provides opportunities for students and faculty to learn in multidisciplinary ways that no other institution can match. Rep. Robb discussed the University’s unique research mission and its significant economic impact. Rep. Baker talked about the importance of training health care professionals to meet the needs of the state. Sen. Graham emphasized the University’s economic impact and said it is doing better at technology transfer.

The group was in agreement in its opposition to the name change for Southwest Missouri State University. Members expressed concern that the “Missouri State University” name once was used to identify the University of Missouri in Columbia, and that the name creates confusion for future students and citizens about the true role of the institution in Springfield. The panelists pledged to fight the proposal in both the Senate and House and encouraged alumni to join in the effort.

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