Great Northwest Days are Feb. 5-6 at the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City.

Great Northwest Day allows residents to discuss legislative issues in Jefferson City

Regional legislators are back to work in Jefferson City and community advocates throughout northwest Missouri are ready to share their priorities this year at Great Northwest Day at the State Capitol, next week on Feb. 5 - 6. This event, focused on raising awareness of Northwest Missouri to state legislators and departments, features an introduction on the House and Senate floors, a regional luncheon, informative roundtables and an educational breakfast. The new Luau theme for the main event on the night of Feb. 5 provides an opportunity for community representatives to promote their communities to legislators and others who are invited to attend.

One of the many strengths of Great Northwest Day at the Capitol is how the steering committee collects and prioritizes issues and concerns that impact the entire northwest region.

“The Great Northwest Day committee works hard to listen to all in the region and find out priorities that benefit the region as a whole,” said Micah Landes, 2019 steering committee chair. “Collaborating and speaking as a unified voice has proven to be powerful.”

This year’s priorities include:

Caring for our Youngest Citizens

By better caring for our youngest citizens we are actually preventing a domino effect of poverty, poor health, and poor performance in school results that end up costing our state billions of dollars over time. We can help break this cycle at the root cause by ensuring appropriate childcare options are available, parents are educated on how to best care for their children from birth, and high-quality preschool education is available to all families in rural and urban communities. Great Northwest Day supports leadership development efforts for our citizens starting from day one because the world they will be navigating will be far more advanced and complex than any other generation of humans has ever experienced. Doing all we can to invest in their success is an investment in our own future quality of life.

Aligning to Educate and Advance Our Workforce

The future of our region depends on an educated and skilled workforce. Educational districts and institutions contributing to the development of Missouri’s next generation of citizens, from preschool through multiple postsecondary options such as professional certificate and degree programs, cannot fulfill their mission without your support. Great Northwest Day asks our legislators to continue investing in education, workforce development, mental health and substance abuse treatment as they are all intertwined and impact how well our youth and adults are able to show up to advance their learning and move our state forward. For two- and four-year higher education institutions, support MoExcels grants and infrastructure improvements and support further performance funding investments based on workforce- focused measures.

Rural High-Speed Broadband Access and Affordability

We live in a world that is omni connected and dependent on technology communications. With over 40 percent of Missouri’s population living in rural areas, it is essential to support the foundational infrastructure that can provide Universal Service (1) to all Missourians at an affordable price. We realize our rural area is considered a “high-cost” area by many Internet and mobile phone providers. However, some of our country’s most innovative and successful minds have come from rural regions such as northwest Missouri. It is imperative to collaborate with the Federal Communications Commission [FCC] to help implement their aggressive key initiatives (2) designed to distribute resources fairly to all geographic corners of the state. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai stated, “Since my first day as Chairman of the FCC, my number one priority has been closing the digital divide and bringing the benefits of the Internet age to all Americans.”

Safer Roads and Bridges

Safe and reliable transportation infrastructure is essential to the health and wealth of our region. Great Northwest Day encourages lawmakers to invest in our rural region’s roads and bridges – vital keys to the economic future of northwest Missouri. We oppose any plans that would require any further local city or county government fiscal and maintenance responsibility for state lettered routes or other state supported infrastructure without the equal addition of local city or county revenue sources to cover those costs.

Wind Energy and Large Water Projects

Great Northwest Day encourages lawmakers to understand that the unique assets of rural Missouri play multiple roles in ensuring the sustainability of our communities. We ask you to match the support of our local landowners by keeping the tax revenue from our local natural assets invested within our local counties. We oppose any plans that allow taxes dollars collected from wind projects now and in the future to be distributed to any area of the state other than where that wind project has a presence. We also ask you to support state funding to match federal dollars invested in large water projects that ensure our residents have enough water during periods of drought.

Participating counties that both sponsor and plan to attend the event include: Andrew County, Atchison County, Buchanan County, Caldwell County, Carroll County, DeKalb County, Gentry County, Grundy County, Harrison County, Holt County, Linn County, Livingston County, Nodaway County, Sullivan County and Worth County.

For more information on the event or how you can attend, contact

Livingston County Coordinator, Crystal Narr with the Chillicothe Chamber, or visit the website at www.greatnorthwestday.com.