Government Relations

UM Legislative Update Newsletter

May 4, 2007

Rep. Steve Hodges

Rep. Steve Hodges, Sr. (D-East Prairie) was first elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 2006 to represent District 161, part of Cape Giradeau, Scott, Mississippi, Stoddard and New Madrid counties. Hodges received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Southeast Missouri State University and his master’s of business administration from the University of Missouri-Columbia. “The Delta Center in southeast Missouri is a phenomenal asset to our area,” Hodges said. “The agricultural research they do there drives our local economy.”

Tony George

Hodges currently serves on the Agriculture Policy and Appropriations-Education Committees and the Special Committee on Workforce Development and Workplace Safety.

The role of higher education is to provide those that attend with the “skills to pursue good jobs, but it also teaches young people discipline and organizational skills as well as social skills,” Hodges said. “The entire college experience is a great opportunity.”

In addition to his legislative duties, Hodges works as a substitute teacher. He previously worked for 30 years as the owner and manager of a supermarket in East Prairie.

The challenge for higher education is that its “leaders need to concentrate on providing the opportunity for as many young people to participate as possible,” Hodges said.

As the state’s land-grant and research institution, the University of Missouri has a mission to “provide a reasonably-priced undergraduate education to as many students as possible.” Hodges added that UM provides the professional programs, including dentistry and medicine, that are essential to maintaining the quality of life in communities like his own

“My area is primarily rural, and we depend on UM’s agricultural research abilities to drive our southeast Missouri economic engine,” he said. “The University also has a role in disseminating much of that research directly to those who use it through Extension.”

In addition, the University provides many technical research services to help the state plan for the future, Hodges said. “The technical expertise that is available to the Department of Economic Development, the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Agriculture and others is extremely valuable.”

“The University impacts my district on a daily basis, but probably the most significant impact is delivered by those you educate, whether they are farmers, teachers, doctors, or lawyers,” Hodges said.

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