Rep. Keith English talks of political fallout from SB 509 vote

Complete interview with Rep. Keith English

COLUMBIA, Mo. - The veto of Senate Bill 509 was overturned in the Senate Monday, and in the House Tuesday.

The House vote took all 108 republicans and 1 democrat to override the Governor's veto of the tax cut bill.

The lone democrat to vote with the republicans and against his own party and a democrat governor was Representative Keith English.

ABC 17's Joey Parker sat down with English this week to talk about the political fallout from his vote.

"There's a little tension at the Capitol, right now. My constituents have been calling expressing concerns about Senate Bill 509. My colleagues are a little disappointed in the override of the Governor.

Parker: "You say 'a little disappointed.'That's probably an understatement. You've been stripped of your committees and panels. How does that feel?

English: "Well, it's a sad feeling. We have a week left next week and we have some very important bills to be considered, such as pay day loans and fighting for the people. When you talk about taking away local control from people and local government. We have committee meetings tonight and I don't get to attend because I was stripped of my committees."

Parker: You said that the local government committee, in your words, hurt the most. Being stripped of that? Why is that the case?

English: Well, I was in the Florrisant City Council, where I voted for the people, we had businesses coming in that wanted TIFs and increment financing, and I fought for the people and made sure that the businesses that came in there; I fought for them, and that's what I did here in local government for the state.

Parker: On the override for the veto for Senate Bill 509, you crossed the aisle and joined the 108 Republicans, and your vote was the deciding factor. Why did you do that?

English: Well, back in January I worked with Republicans that had introduced legislation on working on some tax reform. I believe as business owners, the backbone of
our state of Missouri, our tax not only as business owners, but as employees, we have to do something to generate this economy. I fought against Right to Work, Paycheck Deception, there were bills to strip teachers of their tenure, of their pensions, state employees, and so I had to look and work with the other side of the aisle on exactly what we could do to generate big business to come here.

Parker: And when you did this, again, the reaction was swift. A letter came from the NAACP saying that this had happened in the past and someone was stripped of committee. Is there any race involved in this?

English: Oh, I don't know that there's race involved, I just know that this has been a past thing that's happened. I don't blame anybody. I'm taking it like a champ with one week left. If we were in the first week of the session I think I'd have a little bit more to say, but what these critical issues that we have for the state of Missouri and fighting for our districts, I was a little disappointed. This was not a caucus position, whereas in the other instance where this had happened there was a caucus position taken where we as a caucus had decided we're gonna fight for what we believe for the Democratic Party. So this bill we were able to vote our conscience, be able to vote our district, and then I was stripped. I was a little disappointed in the decision.

Parker: How are you going to bounce back?

English: We'll I'm going back to work through next week. I'm going to talk to whoever takes my place on the committee and voice my opinion for my district and make sure that the vote that they make would be mine.

Parker: And finally, what would you say to your constituents who are disappointed in you on 509?

English: I'd say that the Governor had 3 to 4 months to get out there and express his concerns about the bill, and I'll have the rest of the summer to each and every one of them back home to express the reasons why I did it for my district, and for the whole state. This is going to benefit everyone.

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