St. Louis Chamber hands out ‘Champion’ awards including ‘SJR Six’

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. — The St. Louis Regional Chamber of Commerce named the six legislators who voted to kill SJR 39 as Champion Award Winners on Wednesday afternoon.

Reps. Mike Colona, Jim Hansen, Jeremy LaFaver, Sharon Pace, Caleb Rowden and Anne Zerr were named as recipients of the award. All six serve on the House Emerging Issues Committee and voted to reject the legislation, killing the bill.

With the Champion Award, the chamber honors “lawmakers that have championed a priority issue for the Chamber and achieved meaningful success this session.”

The business community lobbied hard against SJR 39 once it passed the Senate, but now the three Republicans — Hanson, Rowden and Zerr — face financial challenges in their elections. The National Organization for Marriage announced last month that it would advertise against the three this election cycle.

Zerr and Rowden are trying to win Senate seats. Rowden doesn’t face a primary opponent and has received support from Sen. Bob Onder, SJR 39’s author, in his race against Democrat Rep. Stephen Webber for the Columbia swing district. Zerr, on the other hand, faces a tough primary in St. Charles County, where her opponent Bill Eigel has received Onder’s support. In the past, Zerr has said she needs business’ support if she’s going to win the primary.

These six legislators weren’t the only ones recognized by the St. Louis Chamber. Rep. Mike Kelly and Sen. Bob Dixon were also recognized as Champions.

House Speaker Todd Richardson, House Budget Chair Tom Flanigan, Sen. Doug Libla and Sen. Kurt Schaefer received the Advocate Award for “lawmakers that have championed a priority issue for the Chamber this session.”

Reps. Justin Alferman and Shamed Dogan received a Catalyst Award honoring “up-and-coming lawmakers that demonstrate promise for championing a priority issue for the Chamber in the future.”

Outgoing Democratic Sen. Joseph Keaveny and outgoing Republican Sen. Eric Schmitt were given the Legacy Award for “lawmakers that have demonstrated a lifelong commitment to inspiring a greater St. Louis region.”

The chamber will honor the awardees at an event Sept. 19.

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