Ashcroft holds meeting in Kennett
Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft made a stop in Kennett on Wednesday to hold an informal meet and greet with the community.
Also on hand for the meeting were Dunklin County Commissioners, Patrick McHaney and Don Collins, Mayor Bob Hancock and State Representative Andrew McDaniel.
Ashcroft began the meeting asking for input concerning the needs of Dunklin County.
“I need to know what the state does and how it affects you all,” said Ashcroft.
Ashcroft stated the feedback would help his office make good decisions.
“I want to make sure that the Secretary of State’s office is serving the entire state, not just St. Louis and Kansas City,” informed Ashcroft. “We’re supposed to work for everybody.”
Topics discussed included state reimbursements to the county being paid in a timely manner, health care costs for prisoners, the sunshine law and prevailing wage.
Missouri’s Prevailing Wage Law establishes a minimum wage rate that must be paid to workers on public works construction projects such as bridges, roads and government buildings.
Mayor Hancock shared the roadblocks that the prevailing wage causes, citing the costs for a new fire station as an example.
“The prevailing wage is a major problem,” stated Hancock.
McHaney agreed, “It’s an erosion like the Mayor said. Projects cost more.”
Projects do indeed cost more and it takes the money outside Dunklin County.
“Not just out of Dunklin County but out of state,” shared Hancock. “Contractors wind up going to Arkansas.”
“That’s true,” agreed McHaney. “All your border counties experience it.”
Ashcroft concluded the meeting speaking on his advocacy for public libraries as well as touching briefly on the voter I.D. law.
“I don’t want this to be an end to a conversation with you all,” said Ashcroft. “ We want to serve you and we hope this will be just a beginning, a continuation of talking with you. We would hope you would hold us accountable because we can’t do our best job without your help.”