Frustrated representative calls out senators as ‘heartless,’ ‘selfish’ for blocking jobs in Southeast Missouri

Frustration with the state Senate boiled over on the House Floor as one representative called out three Senators he called “heartless,” “selfish,” and “egotistical.”

Representative Don Rone (photo; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)
Representative Don Rone (photo; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

Representative Don Rone (R-Portageville) told his colleagues he was rebuffed when he went to some senators seeking support for a measure that would allow the reopening of an aluminum plant and the construction of a steel mill in southeast Missouri.

Scroll to the bottom of the story to hear Rep. Rone’s entire speech.

The amendment would authorize the Public Service Commission to set a lower utility rate so the aluminum plant could be profitable.  Rone said that would have restored more than 400 of the jobs lost when the Noranda smelter shut down last year, and the new steel mill would create around 200 jobs.

“My people lost 900 jobs, but we had the ability to bring back 500 of em, plus, and all we had to do was give the Public Service Commission the right to negotiate,” said Rone.

Rone, normally soft-spoken and calm in debates, became emotional when describing what happened when he and other representatives from southeast Missouri went to the Senate seeking support for the amendment, which had been added to Senate Bill 302.

“King [Senator Doug] Libla sitting over on the far side telling [Senator Rob] Schaaf to come over and talk to me and the rest of us and try to convince us that their way was the right way.  The first thing Schaff did was pull a piece of paper out and slap it in my face and said, ‘This is how much money that these senators got,’” said Rone.

Rone was asking his fellow House members to vote to add his amendment to another bill, Senate Bill 124.  They listened intently as he grew more passionate.

“I have traveled this entire United States and I have dealt with a lot of people … but I’m here to tell you that I have never dealt with, don’t ever want to deal with, the most selfish, the heartless, egotistical people as Libla, as [Senator Gary] Romine, in my life.  Never.” said Rone.

Rone claimed when Senator Romine was asked whether he was, “willing to walk away from 500 jobs,” Romine’s response was, “You bet.”

Representative Don Rone (photo; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)
Representative Don Rone (photo; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

“Now isn’t that a fine how do you do when we’re offering them 500 jobs at no cost to the state of Missouri, shovel ready, ready to go, 120 days and we’re doing something,” said Rone.

Rone pleaded with his fellows to again support his amendment so the bill could be sent back to the Senate as a “last-ditch” effort to give the PSC the authorization Rone said it needs.

“I serve some of the finest people you ever want to be with, but they are so poor.  They are all so poor,” said Rone.   “Thank you all so much.  You all agreed to do it, but anything that goes on [in the Senate] we shouldn’t even pass anything that they do, because they’re heartless, they’re selfish, and I’m asking you to pass this amendment.”

Rone was given a standing ovation by the members, many of whom have criticized the Senate this session for what they’ve called “dysfunction,” or a “lack of integrity.”

His amendment was adopted 148-2.

Click here to hear representative Rone’s entire speech on the House Floor.