Government Relations

UM Legislative Update Newsletter

August 26, 2005

Profile: Rep. Steve Hobbs

Rep. Steve Hobbs (R-Mexico), chair of the Conservation and Natural Resources Committee, recognizes the enormous impact of the University of Missouri on his legislative district. As the largest employer, "everything the University does has a big influence on my district. That includes education, research in agriculture and others areas, and, of course, Extension. When I go to see my doctor, or my dentist, or many professional people in my community, in one way or another they have been touched by the University of Missouri."

A 1978 graduate of Mexico High School, Hobbs bought his first farm in Audrain County in 1979. "Although I didn’t graduate from MU, I grew up with University Extension," Hobbs said. "The College of Agriculture also has always been a tremendous influence on me and my business."

Hobbs was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 2002 to represent District 21, part of Audrain, Boone, Callaway and Monroe counties.

In addition to his legislative duties, Hobbs remains active in farming. He is president of Hobbs Farm, Inc., a company he started with his father in 1997. They raise cattle and grow corn, soybeans, wheat and grain sorghum. He has served on the Audrain County board of the Missouri Farm Bureau since 1995, and is currently secretary/treasurer and legislative chairman. He was elected to the Missouri Beef Industry Council in 2000 and is a member of the Soybean Association, among other organizations.

While Hobbs sees the immediate impact of the University in his district, he acknowledges that we have a "big educational process ahead of us – both Mizzou and its supporters – to educate members about how the University impacts them and their districts all over the state. It is important to educate folks about the benefits the University has to offer them."

"Higher education plays a very important role in the future of our state, not only in terms of preparing students for jobs, but also in terms of job creation for the industries of the future," Hobbs said. "Biotechnology and the life sciences are good examples of the new jobs we will see in the future. The changes are huge, and higher education is a big part of that."

Economic development and higher education go hand in hand, Hobbs said. "For too many years our state looked at economic development as one issue and higher education as yet another issue. They should be working together as a system."

Hobbs notes that funding and tuition are major issues facing higher education. "Everyone has access to a higher education degree, but I feel certain that there are some who do struggle with the financial portion of it," he said.

One of his goals while serving in the legislature is to help secure funding for the medical research facility at UM-Columbia. "The Medical School plays such an important role not only in my area, but in the entire state," he said. "We have to provide them with the facilities they need to continue to serve the medical needs of Missourians in the future. I am hoping that next year we can succeed in getting significant funding for that project."

The University of Missouri has to be the crown jewel in higher education for the State of Missouri, Hobbs said. "By and large it is doing a very good job of it, but there is always room for improvement."

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