Government Relations

UM Legislative Update Newsletter

October 28, 2005

Profile: Sen. Rob Mayer

Sen. Rob Mayer (R-Dexter) received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Southeast Missouri State University and a juris doctorate from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Mayer, who has fond memories from his time at the School of Law, recently was awarded the 2005 Alumni Achievement Award from UMKC. “I am grateful to the administration and certainly all my teachers and faculty at UMKC for providing an outstanding legal education,” Mayer said.

In naming Mayer the recipient of its alumni achievement award, the UMKC School of Law cited, among other accomplishments, his ability to take a risk and follow a dream. When his job at a local manufacturing facility in Dexter was eliminated, Mayer decided to go back to school to complete his undergraduate degree. He later moved his wife and three young sons to Kansas City, where he enrolled in the UMKC School of Law.

Several years after his graduation from law school, Mayer was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 2000 to represent the 159th District. He served two terms in the House before being elected to the State Senate in 2004, where he represents the Counties of Butler, Dunklin, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Ripley, Stoddard and Wayne.

As a senator, he serves on the Agriculture, Conservation, Parks and Natural Resources; Appropriations; Education; Joint Committee on Education; Joint Committee on Economic Development Policy and Planning; and serves as vice chair of the Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee.

Among other honors, Mayer is the recipient of the Farm Bureau Friend of Agriculture Award, and was named the 2003 Legislator of the Year from both the Missouri Police Chief Association and the Missouri Sheriff’s Association.

Mayer notes that higher education will continue to play a greater role in the life of our state. “Due to greater specialization occurring in the different professions, industries, and service sectors, higher education will have to provide the necessary education and training to students who will eventually go out into the work place and fill those highly-skilled positions,” he said. “Furthermore, I see education playing a greater role in economic development through research and job training programs.”

The University of Missouri has been a major contributor to economic development in the state, Mayer said. “One can easily say that the economic contribution to the state has been huge. That is not even taking into account the major economic impact of the research and development of different productions and discoveries and their implementation into our society.”

In addition to the economic impact, Mayer notes that the University’s graduates serve an important leadership role. “Certainly many of our doctors, lawyers, and other professionals received their professional degrees at MU,” he said, “and those professionals play a big role in leadership for our communities and generate commerce.”

The University of Missouri Delta Center in Portageville is one example of the University’s outreach efforts and statewide impact. “Southeast Missourians are very proud of [the Delta Center] because of the extensive plant research that is done at that facility and the improvements to agriculture that the research has brought to Missouri farmers,” Mayer said.

The work of University of Missouri Extension also can be seen throughout Mayer’s district. “The University of Missouri has played a big part in improving the quality of life in my district through the extension service,” he said.

Mayer notes that over the years the University has fulfilled its mission of a land-grant university with extensive research opportunities, and also has been a leader in the fields of medicine, life sciences, and agriculture, among others. “Through the research and dissemination of knowledge, the state of Missouri is advanced and is a better place to live and work,” he said.

According to Mayer, one of the great challenges for higher education will be to provide a quality education at an affordable cost.

In the future, “our universities will need to expand the possibilities for educational opportunities through the Internet and channels other than the traditional, main physical setting.”

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