A veteran Missouri lawmaker who has recovered from the coronavirus received a bipartisan standing ovation from the House on Friday in Jefferson City. His colleagues praise his courage, work ethic and his dedication.
State Rep. Joe Runions, D-Grandview, is in his eighth and final year in the Missouri House, due to term limits. After battling COVID-19, being hospitalized and then recovering at home, Runions returned to the Statehouse last week.
State Rep. Rory Rowland, D-Independence, describes Runions as a voice of reason, who looks out for his community.
“Every time I’ve had a conversation with him, he always asks the question ‘how will this impact Grandview?’ That truly is the essence of a public servant,” Rowland tells colleagues.
Representative Runions was diagnosed with COVID-19 in March, and was hospitalized at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Kansas City. He spent part of that time on a ventilator.
Rowland says the 79-year-old Runions is stable, dependable and knowledgeable. Rowland describes him as a “trifecta guy.”
“Do I like them, do I trust them and do I admire them? The gentleman from Jackson, Representative Runions, is a trifecta guy in my book,” says Rowland.
Rowland says Runions didn’t speak on the House floor often, but that when he did, “this body listened.”
While hospitalized in March at St. Joseph’s, Runions and Governor Mike Parson (R) spoke on the phone. Runions urged Governor Parson to do everything in his power to prevent Missouri hospitals from becoming overwhelmed during the pandemic.
Runions told the governor that his doctors at St. Joseph Hospital asked him to seek the governor’s assistance on personal protective equipment (PPE), because they were worried they would run out of vital supplies.
Runions, who was elected to the House in 2012, is the ranking Democrat on the Missouri House Transportation Committee. He’s also the top Democrat on the Local Government Committee.
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