Area state senators receive appointments, leaving voters without a voice

State Senators Kiki Curls and Jason Holsman leave seats for powerful state commissions appointed by governor.

Senators Shalonn “Kiki” Curls and Jason Holsman

Senators appointed. Will south KC have a voice in the Missouri Senate in 2020? 

By John Sharp

The two Missouri state senators whose districts cover south Kansas City have been appointed to powerful state commissions by Governor Mike Parson and were sworn in to their new offices and resigned their Senate seats on January 16 following approval that day of their appointments by the Missouri Senate.

Senator Jason Holsman was appointed to a 6-year term on the 5-member Missouri Public Service Commission that regulates all investor owned utilities in the state and their rates, including electric companies that serve over 1.9 million customers and natural gas companies that serve nearly 1.4 million customers.  

A longtime advocate for the use of more renewable energy sources instead of continuing to rely only on fossil fuels, Holsman introduced several legislative proposals that are now law to encourage the use of solar power.  While serving in the Missouri House prior to his election to the Senate, Holsman chaired the Special House Committee on Renewable Energy in 2011.

Senator Shalonn “Kiki” Curls was appointed as the employee representative on the 3-member Labor and Industrial Relations Commission that hears appeals on workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance claims as well as prevailing wage disputes.

Curls was appointed to complete a 6-year term that will expire in July when she is expected to be appointed to a full 6-year term.  She has held multiple leadership roles in the Senate including serving as Assistant Minority Floor Leader.

Both senators were serving the last year of their 4-year terms and could not seek reelection because of term limits.  Both began serving in the Missouri House in 2007. Curls won a special election to the Senate in February 2011 and was reelected in 2012 and 2016.  Holsman was elected to the Senate in 2012 and reelected in 2016.

The staffs of both senators will still be available to assist the public with any concerns or questions about state government or any problems they are having with state agencies until new senators take office.  The number for Curls’ office is 573-751-3158, and the number for Holsman’s office is 573-751-6607.

The governor can call a special election to fill their seats on April 7 when municipal and school board elections are conducted so whoever is elected could take office in time to participate in the closing weeks of the 2020 legislative session when many of the most important legislative matters are decided.

If he does not do so, candidates for the two seats would have to run in the August primary election and the November general election and would not take office until January 2021.  South Kansas City would have no direct representation in the Senate during the 2020 legislative session. 

 

1 thought on “Area state senators receive appointments, leaving voters without a voice

  1. It’s not amazing to me that persons with families, friends, and lots of interests who have run for term-limited offices, won, and then see the “importance” of appointments to boards and commissions, etc., are accepting these appointments before their term expires. This is usually based on, as I see it:
    1) term limitation
    2) the strain of not being able to see families, friends, be involved in outside interests
    3) the financial hardship of having to run and campaign all the time for MONEY while a newcomer can gather money together based on the ‘Citizens United’ U.S.Supreme Court case decision, id est, that money equals free speech and free speech equals money.
    Is this a problem? Yes, I think so. Eventually, there will be a “good ol’ pol’s” network of persons working a system wherein unelected persons on boards, commissions, ad hoc / “to this purpose” appointed groups / committees, etc., who are MAKING policy… Is this what we want, an underground bending of the Constitution? If so, read no further, you already have it.
    But remember: Plessy vs. Ferguson (‘Separate but equal”) was the the law of the land thanks to an extremely right-wing U. S. Supreme Court in the 1890’s… it took until the 1950’s (Brown vs. Topeka) just to change that error made 60 years before, and then countless reverberating ill-begotten pain and suffering for decades, even NOW.
    Beware of good ol’ pol’ systems! And hope for reversals of bad laws / decisions much faster than a “talking” dollar.

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