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Slay travels southwest Missouri to talk issues and priorities

KIRKSVILLE, Mo. — St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and a few members of his staff conclude a two-day trip to parts of southwest Missouri today after meeting with political leaders to discuss state issues and issues pertinent to the visited areas.

Jeff Rainford, Slay’s Chief of Staff, says this trip isn’t unusual for the Mayor, who he says takes one to three trips each year to different parts of the state.

Mayor Francis Slay
Mayor Francis Slay

“A lot of people come to St. Louis, so it’s important for us in St. Louis to go to other parts of the state and hear their personal stories or updates,” Rainford adds.

Today, Slay and his staff had lunch with Peter Herschend, State Board of Education President, in Branson. Yesterday, they met with Sen. Bob Dixon in Springfield for lunch and spent the afternoon and evening in Joplin and had dinner with Senate Floor Leader Ron Richard.

Richard says during Slay’s Joplin leg of the trip, he gave them a tour of an area high school and discussed how the area has improved since the 2011 tornado.

“[St. Louis] was one of the first cities that provided services for us after that,” Richard says, adding that he thinks Slay might be curious about potential templates for disaster situations that could be brought back to the city.

Among the issues Rainford says were discussed during the trip include the St. Louis City gun court effort, venture capital expansion efforts and upcoming legislative agendas.

“It’s good to have relationships with people throughout the state,” he says. “That means doors are open for us during the legislative session.”

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Photo: Slay and Herschend tour Silver Dollar City. In addition to being president of the State Board of Education, Herschend also is a co-founder of Herschend Entertainment, the company that owns Silver Dollar City, among other amusement parks. (Submitted photo)