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Grill says his role is about compromising

by Alan McArthur
Landmark reporter

The election last fall saw the replacement of several incumbent candidates with new people. One local person who won a seat in the Missouri House of Representatives was Jason Grill of Parkville.

Grill’s first session as a freshman in the House from District 32 ended in May. He is currently in the Kansas City area until the next session starts in the fall.

“It was a very exciting and interesting first session,” said Grill. “I’m excited and can’t wait for the next session.”

Grill first ran for the District 32 seat in 2004, but was defeated by a narrow margin and tried again in 2006, winning the seat from incumbent Susan Phillips.

After his first session in the House of Representatives, Grill says listening to people is very important and being a lawyer has helped him realize this.

“I have learned to become a better listener,” said Grill. “Being an attorney and going to law school has helped me deal with different people, with different opinions. As an attorney you are forced to find compromises and this has helped me as a legislator. It’s all about resolving disputes. There are so many people in the House and you have to find the best solution to problems that benefits everyone.”

One way Grill is trying to listen to people in Platte County is by holding Town Hall style meetings. Grill’s next scheduled meeting will be on Wednesday, July 25, on the Park University campus in Parkville at 7 p.m.

According to Grill, the way to accomplish anything in government is to find a way to compromise with people and work together.

“I try to work with everyone,” said Grill. “I reached across the aisle to build support and respect in the House this session. I stood up for what I believe in, but still found ways to compromise.”

An important thing Grill stresses

“This is a very diverse district,” said Grill. “People seem to be educated in this district and very independent-minded, they all want you to work hard.”

Platte County continues to grow as new developments expand in the area and people move into the county. Grill stresses he does not always vote along political party lines, but says he makes decisions based on how his vote would benefit Platte County.

“There is so much growth right now, it’s important to have someone work with everyone to make sure Platte County remains a good place to live,” said Grill. “I try to represent all people in this district the best way I can and not only the Democratic Party. Every time there’s a vote I think about it and try to decide what would best serve this district.”

There are several areas Grill says he will focus on during the next session to try to get accomplished to help Platte County residents.

“We need to focus on tax relief for seniors, providing more support for public schools, making health care affordable for small businesses, finding a solution to the immigration debate, making health care affordable and accessible for all Missourians, making sure economic development continues, and making colleges more affordable.”

Even though the first session has only recently ended, Grill is already preparing for what he wants to work on during the next session.

“Next session I plan to focus on two or three really good bills to get them passed,” said Grill. “There were 2200 bills sponsored last session and only 134 became law. It becomes even more of an issue because a bill needs 82 votes and the Democrats only have 71 members, so you have to find people to help you.”

Grill was not successful in having the bills he introduced made into law this session, but was able to work with other representatives to get some of the language from his bills passed by the House.

One of the bills introduced by Grill was aimed at trying to make it easier for Missouri military personnel to renew their driver’s licenses. The bill passed the House 154-0, but failed to get support in the Senate.

“I am the only freshman member of the minority party to get a bill passed in the House,” said Grill. “It was really exciting to later have my language become law.”

Another issue Grill has been working on was to create a tax credit for parents who choose to stay at home with their children. The bill never made it past the House floor, despite several attempts by Grill.

Grill says he is focused on continuing his work in government and trying to better himself.

“I’m very happy with what we accomplished,” said Grill. “Every session you want to continue to progress because you have to keep building on yourself and what you’ve done.”

Grill has announced he will run for reelection in 2008 for the same House seat.

“I plan to run for reelection in 2008,” said Grill. “I love campaigning. I really like talking to people to get their concerns and opinions. I want to continue to represent this district in a moderate way.”


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