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Capitol Perspectives: Improving the Missouri Legislature

by Phill Brooks

Legislative plans to use part of a $75 million bond issue to expand their statehouse space has led me to think about less expensive ways to improve the legislative process. What follows are ideas I’ve heard floating around the Capitol for decades along with a couple of my own.

Reconsider Term Limits: The life-time limit on how long a lawmaker can serve has had a devastating impact

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Just Too Good to be True

This news about Gallatin’s water treatment plant is a bitter pill to swallow. It seems incredulous that the “professional” engineers who planned the project missed cost projections so badly that the improvement project might be scrapped.

Not many businesses I know can miss a price by 30% and keep in business. But then, that’s the racket that engineering firms play in the way of public work projects. They get paid

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Capitol Perspectives: About Schweich’s Eulogy

by Phill Brooks

John Danforth’s eulogy for Missouri’s late auditor Tom Schweich reminded me of the inspiration I gained from Danforth as a young reporter covering him as state attorney general.

Danforth once was called the father of the modern Missouri Republican Party. He later became a leading critic of the current political process.

As an Episcopalian minister, ethics is at the core of John Danforth. I learned that from

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Good Thinking: Ruth’s Journey

by Dr. Don Kuehle

“What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul;

What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss

To bear the dreadful cross for my soul, for my soul?”

The most beautiful “love story” in the Bible is found the Book of Ruth!

Due to a famine in Israel, Elimelech and his wife Naomi, along with their two sons Mahlon and Chilion,

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Leave a Good Legend

Among the outstanding people of Christian history, St. Patrick is one of my favorites. He reportedly died on March 17 (the year is uncertain). Nevertheless, March 17 is listed on our calendar as St. Patrick’s Day.

ShepherdCalls_WPSomewhere in the fifth century AD, young Patrick, in his mid-teens, was kidnapped by Irish Pirates and taken to Ireland as a slave. He spent the next six years of his life serving people

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Learning to Be a Citizen

by Lee H. Hamilton

The question usually comes toward the end of a public meeting. Some knotty problem is being discussed, and someone in the audience will raise his or her hand and ask, “Okay, so what can I do about it?”

I love that question. Not because I’ve ever answered it to my satisfaction, but because it bespeaks such a constructive outlook. Democracy is no spectator sport and citizens

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Capitol Perspectives: Thinking on Tom Schweich

by Phill Brooks

News that Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot has caused me to wonder about the tough and unforgiving environment that I cover. I worry that what I enjoy covering were factors in his death.

This is a man I will remember fondly. I will miss our conversations.

He was eager to talk with reporters about government issues. He regularly wandered the statehouse

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An Adoption Story

The front page of the Kansas City Star contained the story of an attorney, Gene Balloun, who has assisted in more than 1,000 adoptions. The story caught my attention for several reasons: First, because I share his compassion for children. Second, because this attorney did his work pro bono, the compensation he would have received was placed in an account to assist in the children’s education. Third, the story intrigued

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Good Thinking: Samuel and a Journey of Prayer

by Dr. Don Kuehle 

Samuel was an Old Testament prophet, priest, and judge. Samuel’s life from birth to death was a “journey-of-prayer.” Before he was born, his mother Hannah prayed for a son. God heard and answered her prayer. Samuel came into this world; his name meant “name of God.” In her joy, Hannah dedicated her son to God; and gave him into the hands of Eli, the high priest,

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