The longtime Democratic leader in the State Senate says Missourians are still reaping the rewards from a $600 million bond issue approved by voters in 1982.
Former Senate President Pro Tem Jim Mathewson (D-Sedalia) credits former GOP Governor Kit Bond, who pushed a program called “Jobs for Missourians Now”.
“I went around the state with him (Bond) and separate from him, and promoted that. And then that came back to the Legislature and we had to say how many million went here. Of course, Higher Education had the most buildings so they got the big part,” Mathewson says.
Missouri voters backed the measure, which called for spending the money on roads, parks and public buildings. Senator Mathewson secured millions of dollars in funding for the Missouri State Fairgrounds.
“But I was able to put a little amendment into that $600 million where we’re going to spend $11 million in the Department of Agriculture. I may have been the only person that knew that the Department of Agriculture only had one building,” Mathewson says.
Mathewson’s amendment secured funding for a new building at the Fairgrounds. The building, which is still in use, is now named after Mathewson.
Mathewson tells Missourinet many of roads, parks and buildings funded by “Jobs for Missourians Now” are still being used today.
While he’s no longer in the Legislature, Mathewson serves on the Missouri State Fair Commission, which oversees the operation of the State Fair.
Mathewson says the Fair is in good shape, adding that the State Fairgrounds are now used 12 months a year. He also says that non-fair events raise about $500,000 to $600,000 annually.