Paul LeVota at the James C. Kirkpatrick Library, University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg

The next Speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives:

LeVota Named Recipient of UCM’s Kirkpatrick Excellence in Governance Award [pdf]

…Honoring his commitment to Missourians and his role in state government, the University of Central Missouri’s Student Government Association will present Representative Paul LeVota, Democratic representative of the 52nd House District from Independence, with the 2008 James C. Kirkpatrick Excellence in Governance Award.

LeVota will become the 23rd recipient of the award …

…Born in Independence, LeVota earned a bachelor’s degree in speech communication and political science form UCM while serving as president of the Student Government Association. Elected in 2002 to represent Missouri’s 52nd District, LeVota has served on the House Budget Committee, the Utilities Committee, the Homeland Security and Veteran Affairs Committee, and the Appropriations for Education Committees. He has been the driving force behind the House Democrats’ “Moving Missouri Forward Plan,” an innovative legislative agenda to improve state government…

…Since 1986, the SGA has presented the Excellence in Governance award to individuals who have significantly contributed to government. The SGA Internal Issues Committee selects the recipient from nominees who promote good governmental procedures, efficiency and economy in government, and policies that are in the public’s best interest. The award is named for the late James C. Kirkpatrick, the UCM alumnus who served 20 years as Missouri’s Secretary of State…

Paul LeVota’s remarks upon receiving the award this evening:

…The last person from my county to be the Democratic leader was James Child in 1857, so, I feel like I have a lot of responsibility for Jackson County and Independence. And I do try to use that position as a real opportunity to help move Missouri forward.

I’m proud of our Democratic caucus and our work to move Missouri forward. We have done many great things and, if this award is any recognition of me, it is really more a recognition of what the Democratic caucus in the House has done.

We’ve championed the cause of public education, government accountability, affordable access to higher education, and increasing constituent outreach. We have developed good policy – and House Democrats have developed the “Moving Missouri Forward Plan” which is an innovative legislative agenda…

…and I am really proud that we have become a party of ideas instead of a party of protest, even though we’re in the minority party. I’m proud of that work…

…A lot of politicians like to talk about where they came from and how they triumphed over circumstances, I’ve had my share of challenges,  but that’s not what you should know about me. You should know that I’ve been given many, many opportunities in my life. And I realize that these opportunities came through my own hard work, but also through the efforts of others…

…this tale illustrates that this state has a tradition of creating opportunity for its citizens. And I’m a success story of that tradition. Throughout it’s history Missourians have worked to create opportunity for all…and we should never forget this. We should never forget that our job for future generations is to create great opportunities, to expand opportunity for those that come behind us…

…struggle and hard work are the blessings that  let you realize what’s really important in life.  And that’s faith, family, friends, and growth…

…[to students] the true key to success is finding your passion. And I know many of you are interested in government, and if that’s your passion, I hope you pursue that. Because government can be a fun thing to do. It is a very rewarding thing to do to think that the decisions  you make can influence someone’s future and it can be a real joy to do that. We really live in an amazing country with an amazing system of government…

…One can be responsible, professional, and full of joy in service of others in government. And I hope you remember that…