A University of Missouri political scientist says Missouri is in a prime position to influence events in Washington. Several Missourians have moved into key positions of influence in the nation’s capital. University of Missouri political science professor Rick Hardy points out former Missouri Senator John Ashcroft is Attorney General, and the election of Jim Talent as Senator helped Republicans regain control in the Senate. Hardy says another key figure not to be overlooked is Southwest Missouri Congressman Roy Blunt, the new House Republican Whip and an early supporter of President Bush who has become a confidant of the president. Hardy points out Blunt has been by the President’s side during several high-profile news conferences and bill-signings, demonstrating his status with the President.