Todd Graves, left, nominee for the University of Missouri Board of Curators, listens Wednesday, March 31, 2021, Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, R-Parkville, introduces hlặng lớn the Senate Gubernatorial Appointments Committee. (Rudi Keller/Missouri Independent)
The Missouri Senate spent about three hours Thursday debating the controversial nomination of former state Republican Chairman Todd Graves lớn a seat on the University of Missouri Board of Curators without getting the appointment to lớn a vote.
Listeners who stayed with the entire debate heard a history of the university & each campus, discussions of what is lacking in the current board and that the current administration of President Mun Choi has the respect and affection of lawmakers from both parties.
Senators also discussed the Katy Trail, political tiệc nhỏ platforms và the cost of health care.
Those classic elements of a filibuster, combined with an urgency to lớn get home page for the Easter weekend, led Senate President Pro Tem Dave sầu Schatz, R-Sullivan, lớn end the debate about 2:30 p.m.
The Senate returns lớn work at 4 p.m. Tuesday và the discussion of Graves’ nomination could resume at that time, Schatz said after the Senate adjourned.
“I would anticipate that would be the case,” Schatz said.
Supporters of the nomination are negotiating with opponents in order khổng lồ find a way to lớn kết thúc the filibuster và bring the nomination lớn a vote, he said.
“Obviously there are a lot of negotiations that go on in this building & that is how things get done,” Schatz said. “We are going lớn get this done and obviously it is just part of the process.”
Gov. Mike Parson nominated Graves on March 18 for the Sixth Congressional District seat on the nine-thành viên board. By doing so, he rejected calls from some Kansas City business và political leaders lớn name attorney Lisa Weixelman because of her ties to the University of Missouri-Kansas City campus và strong civic involvement. Weixelman also had Choi’s backing for the position.
At his weekly news conference, Parson said he did not follow the Senate debate closely but remained committed to the appointment.
“I’m not sure what they did, but if they tabled it, that’s fine,” Parson said. “I don’t know but you know, he’s a guy we picked and we’re gonmãng cầu stay with hyên ổn.”
The bipartisan opposition khổng lồ Graves, evident when the Senate Gubernatorial Appointments Committee approved the nomination Wednesday on a 7-4 vote, may not be svào enough to reject Graves but it is clearly svào enough to hold the floor for any length of time khổng lồ bloông chồng a vote.
Under the Missouri Constitution, a nominee for a post that requires Senate confirmation who loses a floor vote can never be appointed again to lớn the same position.
Graves is the lead partner in Graves Garrett LLC, a Kansas City law firm that also includes among its attorneys former acting U.S. Attorney General Matt Whitaker và Lucinda Luetkemeyer, who served as general counsel for former Gov. Eric Greitens & is married to lớn state Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, R-Parkville.
Graves is a former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, and his brother is 6th District U.S. Rep. Sam Graves. His appointment is to lớn replace Democratic former state Sen. Phil Snowden, who’s term on the board expired Jan. 1.
During the debate, Sen. Greg Razer, D-Kansas City, led off the opposition by outlining the history of the university, founded in 1839 in Columbia, & the mission of education, research and service it accepted when it was given l& grant status in 1870. He outlined the development of the campuses outside Columbia, starting with the School of Mines in Rolla, which is now the Missouri University of Science and Technology, và the school’s reach through University of Missouri Extension and research centers throughout the state.
Razer noted that of the nine current curators, eight have sầu degrees from the University of Missouri-Columbia and none hold degrees from any of the other campuses. Graves is a graduate of the Columbia campus.
“It does seem lượt thích, perhaps it is reasonable, lớn have someone with a degree from UMSL, S&T, or UMKC on the board…to lớn make sure the needs of the institutions are not overlooked,” Razer said.
Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, voted khổng lồ confirm Graves in the committee vote. Under questioning from Razer, Rowden said the NextGen Precision Medicine Institute, currently under construction, will make the Columbia campus a premier retìm kiếm center for medical treatments.
And Rowden said Choi is the key lớn making it a success.
“Dr. Choi is going to have lớn be part of the equation or we have sầu a much bigger problem,” Rowden said.
Sen. Justin Brown, R-Rolla, said he would lượt thích khổng lồ see a curator from his part of the state that has ties to lớn the Rolla campus or the Rolla community. Parson also nominated a replacement for Steelman, Keith Holloway of Cape Girardeau, who has a degree from the Columbia campus.
“I will stand up here as long as necessary to make sure it is protected,” Brown said.
Graves’ partisanship is an issue for Democrats & the way he ran the tiệc nhỏ is an issue for some Republicans.
The floor session Thursday concluded with Sen. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg, and Sen. Paul Wielvà, R-Imperial, on the floor.
Wiel&, who voted against Graves during the committee vote, told Hoskins that he tried to lớn delay action to lớn get more information. And Hoskins noted that he was not approached for support until shortly before the Senate convened on Thursday.
“They have not made any attempt khổng lồ contact my office và meet with me to lớn see if I had any concerns more than 30 minutes before” the session began, Hoskins said.