It shouldn’t be any surprise to anyone reading the Missouri Times Magazine that the biggest concept talked repeatedly about in this edition is relationships. Between Exit Surveys, the interview with the First Lady, and recognition of the Outstanding Freshman Representatives, people in the state Capitol are quick to attribute the relationships they’ve built not only their success, but an easier journey through Missouri politics.
This summer, Missouri Times publisher Scott Faughn and I have started putting campaign-level miles on his car as we tape a new show he created called Show Me Missourah, where he sits with county locals and legends exploring the history and relationships that made the counties and this state what it is today. (Did you know former Senate Pro Tem Earl Blackwell was the first to fly a plane through the Arch?) Before we launched the episodes you can hear now, I tested out the recording equipment (successfully) on outgoing Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard in our second multi-part retrospective series. (Gov. Jay Nixon was the first. Both are available to listen to in full online and in podcast stores.) Three hours with Richard later, it was clear he credited his relationships with former governors and others in leadership, from Govs. Bob Holden and Matt Blunt to former Speaker Steve Tilley and now-Treasurer Eric Schmitt, for building his footprint on Missouri history.
After a whirlwind past year, Richard was quick to lend a simple, but necessarily mature reflection: “You just can’t, you just cannot hold grudges.”
As the summer has quieted down and the Capitol goes into what is likely to be one of the most relaxed veto sessions in recent history, I’m again honored to present to you another Missouri Times Magazine. I’m thrilled to present an introduction to Missouri’s new First Lady, Teresa Parson, who could not have been a more graceful hostess in the Governor’s Mansion as two journalists snapped excessive photos and asked questions about her upbringing and how she feels about being propelled to the top as a refreshing standard to Missourians everywhere. Alisha Shurr, one of your favorite Missouri Times reporters, had the joy of going to the First Lady’s Pie Baking contest at the State Fair and watch Missourians embrace the First Lady just as much as she embraces the state – and all the relationships she has built and continues to build on a journey she calls her “happiest life.”
It should also not be a surprise that the lesson the First Lady says is the most important she has learned is: “Just showing someone respect. It doesn’t take much effort for us to show someone respect. And it definitely makes a big difference in the relationship you have with that person.”
When it comes to lessons in relationships and the legacies they leave, the dedication of Mrs. Parson, the honesty of Rep. Gregory, and the grand theft auto of Sen. Wasson (and how a relationship got him out of it) echo in this publication.
In ten interviews with ten representatives nominated by Missouri Times subscribers as outstanding freshman representatives, each one of them dotes the pride they have in how hard they’ve worked to connect themselves in the Capitol and how relationships allowed them to quickly get anything done, especially in their first term.
Reflecting back on their careers, five legislators terming out noted the relationships they’ve built while in the building, whether 8 or sixteen years, will be what they miss most.
If only the farmers and ranchers the “What’s next for Missouri farmers?” feature is based on could build a relationship with the weather as well as they have with the soil.
After veto session, the political class will kick their relationships into full gear preparing for the 100th General Assembly. Here at the Missouri Times, we’re looking forward to releasing the 2018 Statesman of the Year and the Best of the Legislature 2018 in the January edition of the magazine. As always, I rely on this publication’s relationships with each and every subscriber and reader to help us curate the best list worth documenting. Please text, call, or email me with your thoughts on who stood out and made a historic 2018 go a little more smoothly. As editor, I professionally and personally rely on my relationships to assist me in producing an accurate reflection of the Capitol to stand for generations just like our subscribers rely on me and our writers to get them the important news first.
You can pick up a copy of the Magazine at Tolson’s, P.Pfenny’s, Cork, Chez Monet, or our office – or read it online below!
Rachael Herndon was the editor at The Missouri Times and also produced This Week in Missouri Politics, published Missouri Times Magazine, and co-hosted the #MoLeg podcast. She joined The Missouri Times in 2014, returning to political reporting after working as a campaign and legislative staffer.
Rachael studied at the University of Missouri – Columbia. She lives in Jefferson City with her husband, Brandon, and their two children.