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Missouri State Senator Dan Hegeman – Balancing Competing Interests in Crafting Public Policy

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Missouri State Senator Dan Hegeman represents parts of northern Clay County. This is his January 3, 2017 email newsletter. For more information on our Opinion Section and why we publish these updates from legislators please click HERE.

The public policy process is often a frustrating and difficult experience.  While there are certainly a number of issues or challenges facing our state that have readily apparent solutions, it is more common for an issue or problem to have different constituents who do not easily agree.  This is why the public policy process often involves finding a sometimes elusive and delicate balance between competing interests who both ultimately want the same thing, to make Missouri a better place to live, work and raise a family.

There are a number of issues that we seek to address as a state, but the reality is that the needs and challenges of one area of the state on an issue can vary greatly from the needs and challenges of another area of the state on the same issue.  For many of us in the rural northwest region of the state, it is the interests of our rural areas that are often not the same as the interests in the more urban areas of our state.

A good example of this challenge can be seen in the various proposals submitted to the public and in the legislature on how to meet the challenges of maintaining, repairing and improving Missouri’s transportation infrastructure.  Among those proposals have been measures that would revert control and maintenance responsibility of Missouri’s lettered routes back to the counties.  This is a proposal that from my perspective would have a disproportionate and negative effect on our rural areas.  The vast majority of our counties do not have the proper resources or assets to take on the additional responsibility of maintaining and repairing our system of lettered routes.  Quite simply this proposal seeks to solve a significant and important problem facing our state, but does so in a manner that benefits some parts of the state at a great cost to other parts of the state.

As a member of the Missouri State Senate, I share the responsibility of crafting statewide public policy with my colleagues in the Missouri Senate and in the Missouri House.  I accept that crafting public policy is often frustrating and difficult and not everyone will agree on a given solution.  But, as we look to solve problems, reform government or modify programs, I do my best to be mindful of how a public policy solution may affect different areas of the state in different ways, and will continue to advocate for the needs and interests of the 12th Senatorial District that I represent.

As always, please feel free to call, email, or write with your ideas or concerns. My Capitol office number is (573) 751-1415, my email is [email protected] and my mailing address is Room 332, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.

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