Let’s show them: Charting our own path with “Yes” on Proposition D

By Dan MehanI’ve been thinking about our state slogan.

For more than a century, Missouri has been the Show-Me State. That stands as one of the more unique state slogans and has been widely adopted and adapted across Missouri.

While outsiders are often mystified by it, Missourians know that being the Show-Me State is meant as praise of our healthy skepticism. It means we can’t be persuaded into action by guile alone. Rather, we seek to gain a true understanding before moving forward.

This is a positive character trait that remains very relevant today.

But there’s also a less flattering aspect to the slogan that’s been bothering me. “Show me” is a passive phrase. It positions our state as a place that needs others to lead it forward.

In many ways, our state has been making great progress through efforts like Missouri 2030. We are pushing forward with our strategic plan on many fronts. Our homegrown efforts are making a difference to our shared economic future.

But all the while, our state slogan projects to the world that this is a place that needs others to show us the way.

This has been coming to mind recently as outside groups have been trying to influence important discussions happening in Missouri.

We saw this earlier this year when union bosses from other states contributed millions of dollars to help sway the public opinion in Missouri against Proposition A. We were disappointed by the outcome of that vote. Missouri needs right-to-work protections to help make our state competitive for business growth opportunities.

Our state’s business community had worked with Missouri lawmakers for years to pass a right-to-work law. But, in spite of our natural skepticism, Missouri voters were persuaded by the barrage of advertising and the law was voted down.

Something similar is happening right now with Amendment 1. In this case, out-of-state interests are attempting to rewrite a portion of the Missouri Constitution in a way that could upend our legislature. It’s an appalling situation.

It’s time for Missouri to move beyond being a place that allows outside groups to push us around. We need to stop asking people to show us. We need to show them.

We can start by passing Proposition D on Nov. 6. The condition of our transportation system is a big concern for businesses across our state. In fact, only 37 percent of our state’s business leaders are satisfied with our infrastructure, according to our Missouri 2030 Gallup survey.

Proposition D addresses this problem in a smart way. It raises our state’s motor fuel tax by 2.5 cents a year over four years. The monthly cost adds up to about $5 for Missouri drivers.

While the investment is small, the return is huge. As a central state, Missouri’s economy thrives on our connections. We sit at the axis of trade across North America. Past generations built the highways, rail lines, river connections and air hubs that power Missouri’s economy today. Now it’s our turn to repair these vital assets and strategically invest in the connections we need for our future.

Furthermore, the effort supporting Proposition D is being led by Missourians who have the best interest of our state at heart. This is not another time when outside interests are attempting to show us what we should be doing.

Rather, passing Proposition D is our attempt to push our state ahead and place Missouri among the leading states that are investing in their futures.

We can do this. We can make Missouri an economic leader. Let’s show them.

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