Forever Grateful

Senator Elaine Gannon’s Capitol Report for May 20, 2024

Since I made the decision to not run for a second term in the Missouri Senate, I have been anticipating how it would feel to hear the final gavel of my legislative career fall. I am still not sure I have the right words for it, but the sentiment Winnie the Pooh expressed gets pretty close: “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”


I am truly blessed, not just because I’ve had the privilege of serving in the Legislature, but by the countless friendships and relationships I’ve formed and been enriched by along the way. As I prepare to say goodbye, I want to express my deepest appreciation to everyone who traveled to Jefferson City to participate in the process. I especially want to thank my two families for their unwavering support, both the one I share a name with, and the one I share an office with: Heather, Janet and my colleagues at the Capitol.



When I took the Senate oath of office in January of 2021, I was one of eleven women senators, a Missouri record in the upper chamber that grew by one following the election in 2022. To commemorate this historical marker, the ladies launched a statewide literacy campaign and published a book to encourage kids to read and inspire girls to serve. “You Can, Too!” tells each female senator’s story and details what lead them to a life of public service. After it was published, women senators hosted literacy forums around the state to get community input on how to improve our students’ grade level reading scores. This experience and project were extremely gratifying for this retired coach and teacher!


Throughout these past four years, I have sponsored countless bills to try to help our community, improve educational outcomes and support the vulnerable. In 2021, I was proud to watch the governor sign my Senate Bill 71 into law to enable appeals to child custody and placement proceedings, include pets in child and adult protection orders and extend orders of protection from one year to up to a lifetime to further protect survivors of domestic violence.


As a freshman senator, I was also honored to pass a measure to improve processes for workers’ compensation and add a provision to stop the practice in which hospitals are “patient boarding” children who are wards of the state and have been discharged from medical treatment.


Governor Parson signs SB 71 into law on June 29, 2021.


In 2022, I was proud to contribute to an education and literacy package to “Get the Lead Out of School Drinking Water,” enact reading success plans and permit retired teachers to keep their benefits if they decide to return to the classroom. I also ushered legislation across the finish line to designate the second full week of March as Pet Breeders Week to honor those who responsibly raise and provide four-legged family members to Missourians.


My proudest legislative achievement by far happened on July 6, 2023, when the governor signed my bill to help new moms. This bipartisan legislation extended MO HealthNet coverage for postpartum women from 60 days to one full year following the birth of her child, among other provisions. The goals of the new law are to reduce our state’s high maternal mortality rates and give new moms and babies the healthy start they deserve and need.


More than anything else, I will be forever grateful to the wonderful people who call the 3rd Senatorial District home for entrusting me to represent you at the State Capitol these past 12 years. Being the voice of our community has been the opportunity of a lifetime, and your advocacy, input and inspiration have definitely paved the way for my legislative success. While the final gavel may have fallen on my Senate career, my love for Missouri and dedication to our community will never come to a close.