This article is one of a three-part series exploring the day-to-day lives of state representatives, from floor debates to committee hearings and more.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — No day looks the same for Republican Rep. Travis Fitzwater.
His time at the Capitol varies depending on if the legislature is in session and what’s going on in committees. He chairs both the Ethics and Fiscal Review committees while also serving on Rules – Administrative Oversight, Emerging Issues, and Utilities. He is also a member of the legislature’s Task Force on Wind Energy.
“There’s a lot of variety, but it’s just constantly balancing relationships and working on different projects,” Fitzwater said.
Fitzwater said the time he spends in committees varies from week to week but estimated that committee work takes up anywhere from four to 10 hours of his time.
But the part of his day he enjoys the most is building relationships across the political spectrum, seeing different world views, and using those relationships to get things done in the statehouse.
In his seven years serving, Fitzwater has learned that taking a lot of small steps forward can help build momentum for getting things done. He has also learned persistence.
“You can’t be disappointed when you hit a roadblock because there are so many roadblocks getting things done here. You kind of have to have the resolve to say, ‘Okay that roadblock is not going to stop me from continuing to work on something,’” Fitzwater said.
Fitzwater feels his biggest accomplishment in the legislature has been the passing of HB 680 in 2017 establishing four adult high schools to be constructed around the state. Today, there are Goodwill Excel and Career Centers in Columbia, St. Louis, Springfield, and Poplar Bluff. These centers offer local workforce training and provide opportunities for individuals over the age of 21 to obtain a diploma.
“Going to a Goodwill locally and [seeing] ‘Donate here to the adult high schools’ and knowing that that’s there because we got a bill done here — that something I’ll always be very proud of,” Fitzwater said.
Elise Eaker studies journalism at Lincoln University. Prior to Lincoln, Elise graduated from Fulton High School. She is a native of Fulton.