November 9, 2012

Missouri voters demonstrate independence

While a majority of Missourians supported Republican Governor Mitt Romney for President, a similar margin  supported Democrat Claire McCaskill for U.S. Senate.  Republican Congressional candidates prevailed in 6 of the 8 Congressional District races, but voters also supported Democratic candidates in four of the five statewide races.  Full results of Tuesday’s elections can be seen here.

Divided government continues in Congress

With President Obama winning reelection, he will be working with a divided Congress. The Democrats added two seats to their majority in the Senate. Beginning in January, they will have a 53-45 majority in the US Senate. There are now two Independents, who will likely caucus with the Democrats. Due to retiring or defeated incumbents, the Senate will have 11 new members to the chamber.

Republicans held on to their majority in the US House of Representatives. With nine races still undecided, the Republicans currently hold a 233-193 majority. With newly elected Congressional members, more than 1/3 of the House has two years or less of Congressional experience.

In Missouri, Missouri incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) defeated Congressman Todd Akin (R-MO). Due to redistricting, Missouri now has eight Congressional districts. Each of the incumbents in those districts was successful in winning reelection.

Incumbents prevail in four of five statewide races

The power of incumbency was evident in the outcome of the five statewide office races up for consideration in Tuesday’s election.  Governor Jay Nixon (D), Lt. Governor Peter Kinder (R), Treasurer Clint Zweifel (D), and Attorney General Chris Koster (D) all won re-election.  The only newcomer will be Jason Kander, the Democratic candidate for Secretary of State who beat Republican Shane Schoeller.

Nixon, Kinder and Koster all have degrees from MU. Zweifel has a degree from UMSL.

Republicans maintain veto-proof majority in the Missouri Senate, elects new leadership

The November 6th elections resulted in a few changes to the makeup of the Missouri Senate. The upper chamber will consist of 24 Republicans and 10 Democrats. 12 of the 34 Senators will be freshmen, serving their first term. The numbers represent a slight change from the 2012 legislative session, with Democrats gaining a seat in St. Louis where incumbent Sen. Jim Lembke (R-St. Louis) lost to Rep. Scott Sifton (D-St. Louis). Republicans will control 70% of the Senate seats, still allowing them to maintain their veto-proof majority. When the Senate convenes on January 9th, 2013, there will be 11 Senators who are alumni of a University of Missouri System campus: seven from MU, two from UMKC, one from UMSL, and one from Missouri S&T.

On November 8th, the Senate elected its leadership with Tom Dempsey (R-St. Charles) elected as the incoming President Pro Tem and Ron Richard (R-Joplin) elected as the incoming Majority Floor Leader. Jolie Justus (D-Kansas City) will serve as the Minority Floor Leader.

Missouri House sees increase in Republican margin, elects new leadership

The House of Representatives will welcome 46 new freshmen in January, including 35 Republicans and 16 Democrats.  Republicans will now hold a 110-53 majority in the lower chamber, giving the Republicans a veto-proof majority.

Five incumbents seeking re-election were defeated Tuesday. These included Rep. Tom Shively (D-Shelbyville), Rep. Paul Quinn (D-Monroe City), Rep. Brent Lasater (R-Independence), Rep. Cloria Brown (R-St. Louis); and Rep. Melissa Leach (R-Springfield).

There are at least 48 members of the incoming House who are alumni of one of the University of Missouri System campuses, including 31 from MU; 8 from UMKC and 9 from UMSL.

House members have already met to elect new leadership. Republicans elected Tim Jones (R-Eureka) as Speaker. Rep. Jason Smith (R-Salem) was elected Speaker Pro-Tem. Rep. John Diehl (R-Town and Country) was elected Majority Floor Leader. Rep. Mike Cierpiot (R-Lee’s Summit) will be Assistant Majority Floor Leader, and Rep. Sandy Crawford (R-Buffalo) was elected Majority Whip.

House Democrats have selected Rep. Jake Hummel (D-St. Louis) as Minority Leader. Gail McCann Beatty (D-Kansas City) was elected Assistant Minority Leader, and Rep. John Rizzo (D-Kansas City) was elected Minority Whip.

Committee chairs will be announced in the coming weeks, and new committee assignments are expected in early January.

Tobacco tax Proposition B defeated

Voters in St. Louis, Kansas City, Columbia, and Springfield passed the measure, and it lost in the majority of Missouri’s rural counties. The final tally was 49.2% yes, 50.8% no, with the issue decided by 42,000 votes. Higher education leaders had supported the proposition as a means of providing funding for expanded medical education and other institution priorities.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis visits UMSL

From left to right: Congressman Lacy Clay (D-MO), Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Glen Cope, and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis meet at UMSL. Solis’ appearance was sponsored by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan St. Louis and St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association.

MU Sinclair School of Nursing receives $14.8 million federal grant

The MU Sinclair School of Nursing announced on Nov. 5th a $14.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The four-year grant will be used to implement a project aimed at reducing avoidable rehospitalizations among nursing residents. Insights gained from the project could provide a national model for senior care. MU is partnering with CMS and state Medicaid programs to improve care at 16 nursing facilities in St. Louis.

The grant received letters of support from Congressmen Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) and Lacy Clay (D-MO), Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), and Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) all wrote letters of support for this proposal, the largest research grant awarded in MU history. For the entire press release, click here.

From left to right: MU Chancellor Brady Deaton, Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), MU Sinclair School of Nursing Dean Judith Miller, and lead project investigator of the grant, MU Curators’ Professor of Nursing, Marilyn Rantz. Photo courtesy of the MU Sinclair School of Nursing.

University of Missouri students hold event to get out the vote on election eve

After spending the last several weeks helping students register to vote, student leaders with the Associated Students of the University of Missouri (ASUM) and the Missouri Student Association (MSA) helped coordinate a get out the vote event for students in Columbia on the evening before election day. About 500 students picked up informational packets on candidates and ballot initiatives while fellow students read poetry, sang songs and entertained the crowd. Students also logged on to find out polling places and what items they should bring in order to vote.  Representatives of the Mizzou Alumni Association’s Legislative Network were also on hand to sign up student volunteers to help communicate with lawmakers in the coming session.

Senator Brown Visits Missouri S&T

On October 19th, Senator Dan Brown (R-Rolla) visited Missouri S&T to discuss the state’s opportunity to receive federal funds from the Department of Energy to introduce small modular reactor technology to the state.  The Senator heard from a coalition including Missouri S&T Provost Kent Wray and Vice Provost Krishna Krishnamurthy, Mayor George Sanders of St. Robert, local utility officials, and representatives from Ameren and the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives.  The group discussed the unique partnership that has been formed in order to pursue the funding opportunity.  Both Missouri S&T and Mizzou are involved in the effort.  Following the meeting, the Senator was taken on a tour of the research reactor by Dr. Samuel Frimpong, Chair of the Department of Mining and Nuclear Engineering.

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