A veteran Missouri lawmaker who served for 14 years in Jefferson City is most proud of her ability to build relationships.
State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, served all 14 years in the minority party. Her final day in the Senate was New Year’s Eve. She says relationships are the key that unlock the doors to success for elected officials.
“I knew going into this that the Republicans controlled the House, the Senate and the Governor’s Mansion when I got there (2007), that I had to find that middle course and work across party lines,” Nasheed says.
Nasheed was first elected to the Missouri House in 2006 and served three terms. She was then elected to the Senate in 2012 and re-elected in 2016.
She says some of her closest friends to this day are Republicans she met, while serving in the Legislature. Nasheed says bipartisanship is critical for Missouri and the nation.
Education was one of her top priorities. Nasheed says one of her biggest successes happened in 2008, when the Legislature approved her bill ensuring the benefits of the A+ scholarship program for high school students in Missouri’s unaccredited school districts.
“So I was able to pass a piece of legislation in the House that basically stated that if you meet all the requirements, even though you’re in an unaccredited school district, you should still be able to apply for the A-plus scholarship,” says Nasheed.
Because of the bipartisan bill, thousands of students became eligible for free tuition to two-year Missouri colleges and technical schools.
Senator Nasheed is also proud of her legislation that authorized historically black Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis to offer graduate programs for the first time since its founding in 1857.
Nasheed frequently served on Senate-House budget conference committees, and was outspoken about the need for more Harris-Stowe funding. She tells Missourinet that to this day, Harris-Stowe is not receiving its fair share of higher education funds.
Another issue Senator Nasheed has emphasized is the importance of protecting crime victims, and St. Louis’ increasing murder rate.
St. Louis’ homicide rate in 2020 was its highest in 50 years, with 262 murders. The “St. Louis Post-Dispatch” reported this weekend that the 2020 homicide rate in St. Louis is 30 percent higher than the city has seen in the past 50 years.
Nasheed passed legislation that allows Missouri prosecutors to redact information about crime witnesses.
“Because I’m a firm believer that if we don’t solve the murders, then individuals will be emboldened. And the only way that we can solve the murders is to protect witnesses,” Nasheed says.
There have been witnesses to St. Louis homicides in recent years who were murdered, before they could testify at trial. That includes the highly-publicized “St. Louis murder mom” conspiracy case.
As for disappointments during her 14 years, Senator Nasheed says she wanted to see Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) expanded. While she pushed for expansion, it didn’t happen.
One thing she won’t miss is standing up for hours on the Senate floor in Jefferson City, filibustering. Senator Nasheed says it’s bad on the knees. She describes filibustering as a negotiation tactic to make bills less harmful.
Senator Nasheed says she voted her district.
As for her future, Nasheed says she plans to continue to serve her neighbors and residents in her district, as a private citizen.
Nasheed will be replaced in the Missouri Senate by State Rep. Steven Roberts, D-St. Louis, this week.
Click here to listen to Brian Hauswirth’s full interview with State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, which was recorded on December 31, 2020:
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