Where am I?
Missouri Speaker Tim Jones ’89 Speaks to Students
by Brian Dugan '13
Missouri Speaker of the House of Representatives Tim Jones (R) '89 visited his alma mater on Monday night (October 29) to talk to government teacher Bill Brown’s classes about the political process.
Jones, who attended Fordham University after graduating from St. Louis U. High, has served in the Missouri House of Representatives as a Republican from Missouri’s 89th district since 2007. By 2010, the Republicans in the House had elected him House majority floor leader, and in 2012 he became speaker of the house.
When Jones assumed the role of Speaker, Brown had simultaneously been running for school board in the Rockwood school district. As Brown thought ahead to his agenda for the 2012-13 school year, he decided to pursue the opportunity to bring Jones back to SLUH for a night.
Jones primarily spoke about how he became interested in politics and how the state government functions. Despite his Republican party affiliation, he worked around difficult questions from students to try to provide fairly non-partisan answers. Brown thought Jones did well to respect his bipartisan request.
“I spend a lot of time in class trying to stay non-partisan,” Brown said. “I thought he did a pretty good job of trying to keep talking about the concept of bipartisanship, whether he practices it or not.”
Students agreed that as Jones spoke about bipartisan relations, lobbying, and state versus federal government, he kept from espousing Republican ideals, sticking the vision that Brown had hoped for.
“He was pretty bipartisan, which was nice,” senior Jack Flotte said. “He had a lot of good info about the government and let people challenge him.”
“You hear a lot about government from the outside, but it was very interesting to get a perspective from the inside, from Speaker Jones,” said senior Connor Jordan.
Brown was very proud of the questions students offered up to Jones, which dealt with issues ranging from the economy to education reform to lobbying policies.
“I thought the students were excellent,” Brown said. “And (Jones) even remarked on that. When you’re in front of a crowd, you can tell whether the crowd’s paying attention to you or whether they’re ready for you to stop. At no point did I get the feeling that people were squirming in their seat.”
Overall, Brown was pleased with Jones’ explanation of how the state government functions and with his compliance to Brown’s request to speak from a non-partisan standpoint. He also lauded his students for showing such an interest in a non-mandatory lecture. About 30 students shoed up to the speech, and about half of the students were in Brown’s government classes.
“I was very, very impressed with the fact that for an hour and a half 30 young men of high school age, most of whom are unable to vote, actually sat there—and—I felt like—were very engaged and very attentive to what was going on,” Brown said.
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