Government Relations

UM Legislative Update Newsletter

March 24, 2006

Legislator profile: Sen. Joan Bray

State Senator Joan Bray

Sen. Joan Bray (D-St. Louis) realizes the vital role higher education plays in the future of Missouri. “If we want to have Missourians who can participate in the cultural and civic life with knowledge and thoughtfulness; if we want Missourians to enjoy their leisure time to maximum benefit; if we want Missourians to be able to participate in the workforce at a high level, we must invest more money more thoughtfully in higher education,” Bray said.

Bray has served in the Senate since 2003 after having served 10 years in the Missouri House of Representatives. She represents the 24th District, which includes all or parts of 18 municipalities and unincorporated area in St. Louis County.

“The UMSL campus is easily accessible to my district for students, faculty and other employees,” Bray said.

In the Senate, she currently serves on the Appropriations; Commerce, Energy and the Environment; Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions and Ethics; and Transportation Committees.

Bray holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Southwestern University in Texas, as well as a master’s degree in counseling and human relations and a certificate of advanced graduated studies, both from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Among many other honors and activities, Bray has served as an advisor to the Missouri Legislative Academy, a University of Missouri initiative to provide information to legislators in the form of issue briefs and presentations and member training.

According to Bray, the greatest challenge facing higher education in Missouri today is doing more with less. “The challenge is to set high standards and meet them within financial constraints,” she said. “Higher education must be creative to achieve excellence while meeting needs and maintaining accountability.”

“The mission of the University of Missouri is for the four campuses to make up the premier research and degree-granting institution in the state,” Bray said. “It succeeds to the degree it can within its financial limits.”

The University’s contributions to economic development also are important to the state, Bray notes. “UM’s economic development role is key to having an educated population able to plan and execute economic activity to sustain Missouri into the future,” she said.

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