February 28, 2002

Sam Seeking Senate Seat

While the official filing period did not open until February 26, Memphis resident Sam Berkowitz got a head start on the process in front of a home crowd on the steps of the Scotland County Courthouse. A large crowd was on hand Friday, February 22 to watch the First District State Representative announce his plans to seek the Democratic nomination to serve the region in the Missouri Senate next year.

Rep. Berkowitz, D-Memphis, will be seeking the 18th District Senate seat currently held by John Cauthorn, R-Mexico. Cauthorn defeated Rep. Robert Clayton, D-Hannibal, in a special election January 24, 2001 to fill the office vacated by Senator Joe Maxwell who had been elected Missouri Lt. Governor.

Surrounded by family members, supporters and fellow members of the House of Representatives, Berkowitz cited his wish to promote the values that make rural communities great as his main reason for seeking the new post.

"I am running for State Senate because I believe that the values that make rural Missouri great - success through family owned farms and business, safe roads, and improved schools - are in jeopardy of being further diminished," said Berkowitz. "We need a state senator who will fight for these values and will put the interests of our region ahead of those of our big cities. I believe I am the person to carry that mantle."

Berkowitz is in the final year of his second term. He was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1998, before he was re-elected in 2000 after running unopposed.

During these three plus years Berkowitz has been in the legislature, more than 150 state law makers, both rural and urban, as well as numerous state administrators and directors of major departments, have visited the five counties he serves in northeast Missouri.

Berkowitz prided himself on bringing state lawmakers out of the Capitol building in Jefferson City to get a firsthand view of the needs and conditions of the region he serves. The process was achieved in large part due to a series of legislative forums that brought these government officials together with first district constituents to discuss such hot topics as health care, agriculture, education and transportation.

In his three year tenure in the House, Berkowitz has listed as accomplishments:

The resurfacing and construction of new bridges on Highway 136; restoration of funding for the Jim Sears Technical Center; securing funding and starting construction on portions of the Avenue of Saints project on Highway 61; increased support for education; funding for Alzheimer disease treatment; and programs for nursing homes.

In 2001 Rep. Berkowitz was named as the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. That came shortly after he completed a successful leadership role as the chairman of an interim committee on nursing homes. Berkowitz also serves on the House Appropriations Committee for Social Services, Joint Committee on Transportation Oversight and on the Committees for Education, Environment and Energy, and Social Services.

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