In the wake of recent legislation in Missouri, MADD volunteer Michael E. Boland pays homage to the dedicated efforts of MADD supporters and volunteers whose tireless efforts showed MADD's potential impact in future such battles. Read below:
Dear MADD Missouri Friend and Family,
As the special session of the legislative body came to an end last week, it was not a great week for MADD Missouri with the retention of HB4 in this year’s budget. I won’t go into what the problem was. I believe you all are painfully aware of the problem, but in the reality of politics, we lost. We lost not because of anything we did or did not do; we lost because of legislators using procedure to pass legislation. With every defeat in policy, comes an opportunity with the bad policy decision of this year to change it back next year and that is what we plan on doing. We plan on starting immediately after this year’s session stands.
But as this session ends, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the amazing people that worked on this these past months to defeat HB4 just to name a few.
First, Mr. David Warner, a volunteer from St. Louis, who shared his journey and his love of his brother to write the most eloquent letters - both to the editor, but more importantly, he opened a dialog with Representative Conway. She turned out to be our biggest supporter in the conference committee, and even more important, he has retained her support in our fight to change this horrible legislation next year. We owe David a great deal of appreciation, as he left us in a good position for our fight next year.
Second, Bill Whitfield, Director of the Missouri Department of Transportation Traffic and Highway Safety Division, for being our ear to the ground in Jefferson City. Bill was critical in keeping us informed.
Third, Colonel Ron Replogle (retired) MSHP. His expertise on how the Appropriations Committee works, his experience as Colonel of the MSHP, and being involved in the process for five years as the leader of the Patrol - Ron will never know what a difference he was and what a support system he was to Meghan.
Fourth, Chris Mann, MADD National Board member from Kansas City, Kansas, for being such a strong advocate for MADD Missouri and for law enforcement.
Fifth - and some of the most important people of all the men and women of MADD Missouri - the volunteers. The heart and soul of MADD who were amazing. Anything that was asked of them, they went above and beyond our expectation in calling their Senators and Representatives. My deepest respect for all your help in fighting this abdominal piece of legislation.
But most of all to two amazing women that work for MADD. First, our MADD State Executive Director, Meghan Carter, who orchestrated the drive to repeal HB4. The results were not what she had expected. With that said, there is not enough room on this page to share my gratitude and respect I have for this young lady. Meghan put together a powerful coalition of leaders around the state, kept everyone informed with great organization and expertise after many brainstorming sessions, many laughs and tears. We, at MADD, owe her a deep amount of gratitude for a job well done. I hope you all will drop a note of thanks and appreciation for THE outstanding work she did at Meghan.Carter@madd.org.
And finally, for me, when the teacher becomes the student. I am fairly proficient at Public Policy, but throughout this, I learned so much from MADD National Policy guru, Becky Iannotta, from Washington D.C.
Becky taught me the importance and the use of social media, in furthering our goals in repealing HB4. Becky was the catalyst for change each day she would confer with Meghan and me, and she would tweet and post and send out press releases and letters to the editor. We would have never reached so many elected officials without her unwavering support. I cannot even begin to tell you how vital Becky was in getting our voice heard in Jefferson City.
In closing, yes - we had a setback, but more importantly, we have an opportunity to be a powerful force in Missouri as we prepare to reverse this legislation and have our voices heard. We were heard and will be heard as we move forward next year. So in the coming days, take the time to pat yourselves on the back for the job you did and prepare for a full court press as we start next Monday to begin to work for a reversal next year. As always, thank you to all for your time and talent in giving back to MADD.
With my Deepest Respect,
Michael E Boland