Lincoln County, Mo. - To District 41 Representative Randy Pietzman, “historical traditions” meant more than common sense.
Also, to Pietzman, protecting the ego of the governor meant more than protecting children. Despite overwhelmingly defeating Gov. Mike Parson’s veto of $300,000 meant for a pilot program designed to assist Lincoln County prosecutors, law enforcement and local social workers in stopping child sex offenders in an override in the House in veto session, the measure was defeated by three votes, 16-13, in the State Senate.
“I beat (Parson) big in the House, but he beat me in the Senate,” Pietzman said.
However, he said it wasn’t enough to stop the governor’s machine.
“Worst case scenario is we’re trying to put $300,000 in the fight to stop pedophiles in Lincoln County. I couldn’t stop Parson’s ego, however,” he said. “Really it’s a sad day for us.
“He’s gone on the side of the pedophiles - instead of the side with kids.”
Parson’s justification for veteoing the funding from the $35 billion budget was the money was to be earmarked for a single county, though he earmarked funding for festivals in Springfield and St. Louis City, respectively in the budget.
In an impassioned speech made before the House vote, Pietzman said he wasn’t trying to divide his fellow Republicans by pushing for an override of Parson’s veto. He said the grant funding pushed by the governor won’t work to solve the problem the county has been facing for years.
Pietzman added during his speech Missouri Attorney General - and U.S. Senate Candidate - Eric Schmitt is also well-aware of the problem of child sex offenders in Lincoln County, but has not been to the county to assist, so he took matters into his own hands to request the funding to help.
Unfortunately, that sentiment was not shared in the upper chamber, whose veto session was dominated by a contentious argument over who actually presents a bill before the Senate, in which Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe refused to recogize a sitting senator who brought a bill before the chamber.
When Pietzman’s bill was brought up before the upper chamber, however, he expected to get support from his fellow Lincoln County representative, 10th District Senator Jeanie Riddle.
That did not happen, however, as she voted alongside Parson to support the veto, saying money from the grant would be available sooner than the veto override.
Pietzman said he was disappointed, but not surprised with her vote, because she has always voted along party lines.
“(Riddle) voted to protect the governor’s ego,” he said. “It was all about party with her.
“I don’t play those games.”
Pietzman said many of the senators who voted with Parson are either aligned with lobbyists, running for higher office or were promised something by the governor to not override the veto, things common to Jefferson City.
“It was a power-play,” Pietzman said. “They didn’t want to embarass the governor.
“I’ll be back. This isn’t over yet.”
Pietzman is retiring as District 41 Representative due to term limits. Riddle is not seeking reelection as well.
Pietzman has not made a decision whether or not to run for Riddle's open District 10 Senate seat, due to the sudden and tragic death of his son, Jake, in April. However, he said the travesty he witness inside the General Assembly makes him believe someone not controlled by Parson, or lobbyists needs to stand up for the people of Lincoln County.
He said he will announce a decision soon.
"If I can garner enough support from enough people in the community, I'll consider it," Pietzman said.