City honors Bond for Senate service

U.S. Sen. Kit Bond is retiring after 26 years as a senator.
U.S. Sen. Kit Bond, City Manager Bill Watkins and Mayor Bob McDavid talk before discussing the Highway 740 Extension Funding on Monday at Columbia City Hall. The extension is believed to be critical for improving highway infrastructure.

U.S. Sen. Kit Bond was honored Monday with a resolution presented to him by the Columbia City Council for his years of service as a senator.

In an acceptance speech, Bond reminded those in attendance he is leaving office but that he would like to remain a player in supporting Missourians.

“I have been committed to economic development and helping great thriving cities like Columbia develop economic opportunities and jobs, and I want to keep on doing that,” Bond said. “I am confident that the way ahead will be smooth and profitable.”

Bond joked with Mayor Bob McDavid about public comment being limited to three minutes of speaking time, whereas those representing a group or organization are allotted five minutes.

“I don’t represent any organized institution, just the United States Senate,” Bond said.

His light-hearted attitude persisted throughout his short speech.

“When I leave office, I will be doing something that my mother told me 25 years ago that I ought to do, and that’s to get out of government and get a real job to support my family,” Bond said.

Earlier Monday, Bond announced the federal funds secured for an extension of Missouri 740 had cleared a hurdle in Congress by its passage through the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“It passed through the Senate Appropriations Committee, and that is certainly a big hurdle to get it actually included in the bill text,” Bond spokeswoman Shana Marchio said in an interview Monday. “Before being signed into law, the bill still must pass the full House and Senate.”

Bond was able to secure $1.5 million for the extension of Missouri 740 in July, and the bill will face House and Senate approval after the midterm elections. These funds will be used for designing and building a four-lane extension of the highway at the I-70 and Lake of the Woods interchange.

“This project will help relieve a congested interchange, especially on Tiger game days, and provide improved access to and from I-70 for the University and central Columbia,” Bond said in a news release. “There are plenty of people in Washington who would rather spend your money on almost anything other than roads, bridges and other infrastructure.  But ensuring that America has an updated infrastructure, like the Missouri 740 interchange, is a key responsibility of government.”

Bond announced in January 2009 he will not seek a fifth term in the Senate, but made it clear in his address to Columbia he will not be completely invisible from the public eye. Bond was first elected to office in 1986 after serving two non-consecutive terms as governor.

When he introduced Bond to those attending the City Council meeting, McDavid hailed Bond as a great friend to the city.

“(Bond is) an outstanding friend of the University of Missouri, a man who has been a giant to the United States Senate for four terms, and a man who will always be a giant in the history of the state of Missouri,” McDavid said.

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