Government Relations

UM Legislative Update Newsletter

February 10, 2006

Legislator profile: Sen. John Griesheimer

John Griescheimer

Since Sen. John Griesheimer (R-Washington) began his tenure in the General Assembly, more than one thousand high school students from his district have graduated from one of the University of Missouri campuses. “Each of those young people has added value to my district by returning there to work, live and pay taxes,” he said. “They are better off today because of the University of Missouri.”

A Missouri native, Griesheimer was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1992. He served in the House until 2002, when he was elected to the Missouri Senate to represent the 26th District, which includes parts of Franklin, Warren and West St. Louis counties.

In the Senate, Griesheimer serves as the chair of the Economic Development, Tourism and Local Government Committee, the vice chair of the Transportation Committee, and also as a member of Commerce, Energy and the Environment and Ways and Means.

He is active in a number of civic organizations, including the Washington Lions Club, the Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus, and the Washington Elks Lodge. Among other honors, he has been recognized for his legislative work by the Missouri Medical Association, the Missouri Association of Community Colleges, St. Louis RGA, and the University of Missouri Extension Leaders Honor Roll. Griesheimer is a graduate of East Central College in Union and the recipient of their Outstanding Alumni Award.

He recognizes that higher education is absolutely vital for the future of Missouri. “Manufacturing that once dominated Missouri is on the decline, and high tech is the challenge of the future,” he said. “An educated workforce is a must for Missouri to grow and prosper. The four campuses of the University of Missouri are the leaders in this effort for Missouri.”

The University is doing a superb job assisting with economic development, Griesheimer said. “The new emerging partnerships with the Department of Economic Development in workforce development, small business assistance and other areas are showing real progress,” he said. “I am impressed with the University’s efforts with related state ventures like the Missouri Technology Corporation and the Research Alliance of Missouri.”

In addition to the value the University’s graduates bring to his district, Griesheimer sees its significant impact in other areas. “The examples of positive impact to my district are really too numerous to mention,” he said.

Many small businesses have utilized University expertise through Extension, for one. The cooperative nursing program that combines the Schools of Nursing at St. Louis, Columbia and Kansas City also brought a graduate nursing program to the local hospital. “The citizens of Franklin and Washington counties have better health care as a direct result of that effort,” he said.

In addition, the MU School of Journalism, in partnership with the Missouri Press Association, recently opened the Missouri Photojournalism Hall of Fame in Griesheimer’s hometown of Washington. “We are proud to serve as hosts,” he said.

As the state’s land-grant institution, the University has a responsibility to provide Extension programs and serve as the primary academic and research institution, he notes. “The University must look to the future and offer programs and research to meet our future state needs. This would include research in the life sciences, medicine and engineering, among others,” he said.

Griesheimer said adequate funding is the University’s number one challenge. “Reduction in state support meant higher tuition. Some young people today have ‘sticker shock’ when faced with the cost of college,” he said. “They are not always aware of the financial assistance available. We must pursue ways to make higher education affordable to all Missouri youth.”

“I am very proud of my relationship with the University of Missouri over the years,” Griesheimer said. “I hope I have provided assistance in the past, and I hope to do more in the future.”

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