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A Senator's Last Days

April 8, 2002
By: Danielle Douglas
State Capital Bureau

Ten years ago, Missouri citizens approved a law prohibitng lawmakers from serving more than eight years in office.

Now with the close of the legislative session quickly approaching, 88 lawmakers will lose their jobs.

Republican Senator Morris Westfall will be among those 88 leaving state government.

OutCue: SOC

Humbleness, a love of people, and straight forwardness--three things which have kept Morris Westfall grounded during his tenure at the capital.

The 63-year-old Senator from Halfway has been a fixture in state government since 1971.

Westfall's desire to become a public servant stems from a father who also served in the Missouri legislature.

Actuality: DWest1.wav
RunTime: 28
OutCue: "...responsibility in me"
Contents: Senator Westfall recalls his father's desire to be involved and his strong Republican beliefs.

His Republican roots have served him well.

Westfall holds several leadership roles in the Senate--including chair of the Republican Caucus and chair of the transportation committee.

As transportation chair, Westfall has left his mark.

He's sponsored bills to increase safety on the highway--including lowering the legal blood alcohol level to .08.

Westfall's drive to protect Missouri's highways comes from events in his personal life.

Actuality: DWest2.wav
RunTime: 32
OutCue: "...our responsibility"
Contents: Senator Westfall remembers his daughter's serious car accident 12 years ago and the death of his aunt and her son-in-law. The two were killed by a drunk driver.

However, Westfall's transportation legacy may suffer a blow before leaving office.

The senator faces serious opposition from members of his own party about his plan to increase taxes to pay for public transit, road repairs, and construction.

However, the recent controversy won't sour the Republican's memories of his fellow lawmakers.

Actuality: Dwest3.wav
RunTime: 8
OutCue: "...but you miss your friends"
Contents: Westfall will miss his friends more than the legislative process.

At the state capital, I'm Danielle Douglas.