Missouri state representative Sue Meredith speaks to AP Government students


Sydney Kinzy

Sue Meredith, representative for the 71st district, talks to students in Mel Trotier’s third hour AP Government class.

Who are you?

I’m Sue Meredith, State Representative. I get to wear this cute little pin. These pins get very expensive depending on how much it costs to get elected. Senate ones are plastic, which I think is really weird. They don’t get the real ones until they finish their term. Ours are real metal.

When did you get elected?

As a State Representative, we serve two year terms. That means we have to be elected every two years, which is pretty inefficient, I think, because, first of all, you’re elected, you run a campaign, get elected, get in office, you have one year where you get to learn about everything that’s going on. When you get to your second year, you have to start thinking about “Do I want to come back?” because you have to file in January or January/February. So, you’re saying are you gonna come back and you’re thinking about how you’re gonna come back, are you gonna come back, then you decide how am I gonna get back and you start working on your new campaigns. So, one year you do the job and one year you’re kinda more focused on campaigns, but you still have to do the job in the meantime.

What is the house floor like?

In our state, we are in session—that means we are in the House and the Senate—from the first Wednesday in January until the second Friday, 6 p.m., in May. There is a cut-off, 6 o’clock, everything stops. It doesn’t matter where we are. It’s not like “Oh, let’s just finish this bill.” It’s not “Ok, we just have this little bit to do.” No, 6 o’clock everything stops no matter where you are. Mid-sentence, they turn off the microphones. That’s it, you’re done. Then, we come back in September. It’s the second Wednesday in September, we come back for veto session and then we’re done. It may be a couple hours, we may not need one if there are no bills that have been vetoed, and the majority decides that we’re not going to look at those that may have been vetoed. Then that might go two or three days or a week. We don’t know when we leave home to go there. Then, we’re done again. But, we’re not really done. We’re not really ever done.

Do you hear from those you represent often?

We have people like you, who have problems. Something happens in your home and you need help. Something happens, maybe with your job and you need to get unemployment, somebody gets hurt…all kinds of things happen and people call us for help. And we get calls about just about anything you can imagine. “They flunked my daughter at school.” Did your daughter go to school? Maybe, maybe not, but it’s the school’s fault. So, no problem. They flunk, don’t worry. “You call us, we’re going to fix it.” That’s not the truth with every problem. Some people think it is, but it’s not. “The TV cable company didn’t fix my cable and then when they finally did, they charged me $50 and they told me they wouldn’t charge me.” Ok, that’s not really a state issue, but they call us anyway. So, we work, basically, from the time we get up in the morning until we go to bed at night unless we just say “Ok, that’s it, I’m gonna go see a movie, or I’m gonna go sit down or I’m going out to dinner or something” because the phones are always there and e-mails are always there and we get e-mails for the office, we have e-mails at home and we get approximately a 100 e-mails a day, and they’re not the kind that you can look at and click away. They’re the kind that you look at and you go “Ok, now how are we going to fix this? How are we going to solve that? There’s always something going on.