It’s been busy as I’m finishing up my first week with Leadership Missouri at our state capitol. Since Tuesday, I’ve been in Jefferson City meeting new people from across our great state. It’s turning out to be an exceptional program and I’m excited about what the next seven months have in store.

The highlight came Wednesday when I got to sit on the floor of the Missouri House and participate in a legislative simulation. That simulation included playing the role of a legislator and casting a vote on the electronic board located inside the chamber. I happened to run into my friend Rep. Bill Reiboldt as the morning event was wrapping up. He took the time to introduce me on the floor to the entire legislative body. That will be something I will never forget.

On the Senate side, things were a little less exciting. But I did have the honor to meet and introduce to our group the Senate Minority Leader – Jolie Justus. I have a friend from junior high who is also a friend with Ms. Justus. I called him and got some personal insight on her career. While she was born in KC and currently lives there, she did spend her early years in Branson and at SMSU. While we won’t likely agree on many things politically, she and I did agree that riding “Fire in the Hole” at Silver Dollar City was always a blast. I enjoyed meeting her.

Our leadership group also toured the city’s wastewater treatment plant. While that tour was less impressive due to my past tours of our own plant in Neosho, I was surprised to find out they share some of the same challenges we have in Neosho – particularly with storm water infiltration. And like Neosho, they have spent millions of dollars working to make their system better. The most surprising fact from that tour was that until the late 1960s, NONE of their wastewater was treated before it was dumped into the Missouri River. Today, they operate a state-of-the-art facility producing wastewater that is cleaner than the river water itself. They’ve certainly come a long way!

A special “thanks” to the voters who helped pass our charter amendment on ethics. I believe that amendment will be very important for our future. While councils will come and go, all of them will now be held to a high standard established by the voters who elect them. That’s how it should be and I’m proud to have championed that effort.

Crappie fishing is back on for the weekend. I also plan to dust off the lawn mower and do some yard work before Monday rolls around. Thanks for the continued support.

Until next time: stay the course, keep the faith, and may God bless Neosho!

Richard Davidson is mayor of the city of Neosho.