At the Capitol, we are heading into veto session this month.  With a Republican Governor and a Republican legislative majority at our Missouri Capitol working together, veto session will likely be pretty short. We will continue budget and other committee meetings and continue planning upcoming legislation.  
This month, we will also be electing the next Speaker of the Missouri House. The speaker-elect is elected early so that he or she can learn the ropes of the job. The speaker-elect doesn’t take office until January, 2023. Right now, Dean Plocher from St. Louis is the only announced candidate. I supported Dean for his present job, which is Majority Floor Leader and will support him for Speaker. He is a good guy and a friend.
The Missouri demographer just sent us updated figures from the US Census. From these numbers, a bipartisan committee will redraw state political district boundaries to be used for the next 10 years.  
The reported census figures do show a decline in population for most of southeast Missouri during the last decade.  Howell County population was calculated showing a 1.6% decrease from  2010 (650 down to now 39,750).  Other surrounding counties lost more.  Oregon County went down 20.6%.  Shannon County lost 16.7%. Texas County is down 5.8%, and Ozark County is minus 12%.  
Turning to the fed’s figures for local towns, West Plains actually is up 2% to 12,184, but most other local communities are reported down. Mtn. View is shown down 186 people, while Thayer is down 360. Mtn. Grove dropped 476, but Gainesville only went down 28 and Willow Springs 20 less.
Most local leaders had been estimating increases in local population. To account for the disparities, some speculate that COVID could have discouraged either census surveying or census reporting.  
From my travels, I’ve talked to a lot of new people moving into the Ozarks and am inclined to agree that the figures are on the low side. I meet new residents constantly, and local real estate markets remain strong which also seems at odds with decreasing population figures.  Regardless of whether the figures are completely accurate, we are stuck with those numbers for another 10 years.
I planned on ending this report summarizing the recent Afghanistan withdrawal debacle, but that event in our history is just too sad to revisit. More hopeful, both the power of prayer and our American heroes is real. True heroes are not only brave but unfailingly courageous, humble, patriotic, and strongly religious, which characteristics can be used to describe most American soldiers. 
Retired Major Andy Ingalsbe from West Plains is certainly all of those things. He served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and even though he is a Purple Heart recipient, he would rather talk about the courage of other American soldiers than his own bravery.
At an auction a week or two ago, Andy asked me to offer up prayers for his friend, Hanif Lazdamh, an Afghan.  During the war, Hanif was an interpreter for the US, but now, he is a marked man wanted in his own country by the Taliban. 
Andy knew that the only power that could save his friend was God’s grace. Andy, his family, and many friends, earnestly asked God for help.  And God answered.  Hanif’s family was saved and airlifted out to Germany and then (he hopes) later to the US.
If all politicians started praying more and talking less, our country would be in much better shape.
I look forward to continuing to represent your common sense, conservative values.  Please let me know If you have concerns and suggestions. If you would like to schedule a specific time to meet locally or at the Capitol, please call my office at 573-751-1455, or email my office at  
Best regards,
David Evans 
Missouri State Representative
154th District
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