Tuesday, March 9, 2010

He's At It Again I Will Respond To Each Of His Allegations


Thanks for your e-mail questioning this story. There is more to the story and my colleague, Representative Doug Ervin, summarized it well. HCR 18 that was debated on January 19th and blogged about by Sherri Tucker on January 20th was a non-binding resolution. It did not refuse $5.5 million that could have provided health care for tens of thousands of Missouri children as the blog alleged.

While Sherri claimed she was simply forwarding an article, she prefaced the posting with her words: "Outraged, that’s how I am feeling right now! After conspiring with our ex-Governor to strip so many kids of health coverage in 2005 the Republicans in our Missouri legislature has struck again. They have voted, as a block, to reject legislation that would have secured 5.5 million dollars of Federal money to provide health care for 10’s of thousands of Missouri children. Their story: They are rejecting Welfare!"

Her comments misunderstand and misrepresent the truth and what happened and when. The comments after the above in her posting attributed to Representative John Burnett appear to describe a debate and vote in March of 2009, not this year. Sherri has a posting today on her blog that also describes that debate and vote in March of 2009, but her post gives the impression it is covering a current debate and vote today.

The January 20th posting quotes Rep. Burnett as writing, "When the final vote came it split on exact party lines. Every single Republican voted against the children of the State and every single Democrat voted for them." That is a reference to the 2009 vote, not the vote referenced in January, which--as Rep. Ervin wrote--was 111 to 46 with more than 20 Democrats voting with Republicans.

The 2009 vote to which quotes from Rep. Burnett are attributed in the January 20th posting and Sherri's posting today refers did not propose--in truth--to add 20,000 children to the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). It actually would not have added one child. It would have actually eliminated minimum premiums that were already being paid by parent(s) whose children were already on SCHIP.

That plan would not have cost just $1.9 million in state general revenue as the blog alleged, but tens of millions. I, like many Republicans, favor adding children who are SCHIP eligible but not enrolled to the program--and tens of thousands have been added in the last year through increased awareness and enrollment efforts.

The welfare expansion of Medicaid covered health care that was proposed last year would have cost upwards of a quarter-billion-dollars for children and adults, which we could not have begun to afford. Our current state general revenue is down 12.7 for the first 8 months of the current fiscal year compared to last year. January revenue was down 22.4% compared to last January. Today, we learned February revenue was down 14.6% compared to last February. The Governor has had to cut nearly $800 million from the current budget for this fiscal year.

I would also submit that you consider the source and context of the blog in question. For a year-and-a-half, Sherri Tucker has posted false accusations and information based on misunderstanding and misrepresentation. Her bizarre and outlandish postings about me have been consistently misleading, even though she falsely claims they are based on documented facts.

For example, she posted Jackson County property records claiming them as proof I do not have a mortgage and that Bill Kenney paid for our house. He was the builder who owned and sold us the house. In truth, we have two mortgages, the 2nd we incurred to cover expenses after our daughter died.

Concerning our deceased daughter, she wrote "Is is true that your wife is expecting again? Isn't Prader Willi a genetic disorder that is passed on from the father? That is about the only true thing she has said or implied. So, is she wanting to blame me for not giving my daughter everything she needed genetically to live? Most people would find such comments by her disgusting and despicable.

She also maligned my wife and the number of children we have, writing "Is is true that your wife is expecting again? We had a tenth child a year ago. She also implies our children receive free lunches and also tries to imply we are on Medicaid. We are not. We have been privately insured since 2000 after moving back to Missouri with the exception of a nine month window in 2006 after I left a corporate presidency until I was sworn into office.

While our income during that time could have probably qualified us for Medicaid covered health insurance for our children, we did not exercise that option. Our six school age children did receive reduced lunches during that time, but they were not for free. Our income is up since then and we have long since discontinued participation in the reduced lunch program.

She also claimed online that I made $100,000 to over $200,000 a year as a non-profit executive and that the non-profit bought me a boat and car. In truth, my salary ranged in six years as their president from $48,000 to $88,000, plus benefits--the sum of which were under $100,000. The car was company owned--a Kia Optima--that I drove with a 150 mile round trip commute to our headquarters and satellite office in Olathe and Lee's Summit.

As for the boat, it was a 1960s pontoon boat in poor condition that leaked which a donor gave to the non-profit before I arrived in 2000 for a tax write off. I never used it. Mrs. Tucker and other bloggers misunderstood and misrepresented the 990 of the non-profit I served as president pertaining to my compensation, the car, and the boat.

The point many make about her false claims and implications about our personal lives is, what business is it of hers? She appears obsessed like a political stalker. It is disappointing, given I spent multiple hours with her and her Lee's Summit Autism Support Group in 2006 and 2007. I always encouraged them to be peaceful, positive and proactive in their approach, versus negative, antagonistic and combative.

Her false attacks against me, Lee's Summit R-7 Schools, DESE and now my House colleagues contain many commonalities. She consistently misunderstands the facts and misrepresents the truth and timelines. That is why I stopped communicating with her in 2008. Anytime, she would post a false claim and I would write to communicate the truth, she would post my e-mail to her and contend I was lying. Therefore, I do not communicate with her any longer. You cannot have rational conversations in a stream of irrational and false attacks and misrepresentations.

She has also made false and uninformed allegations about my involvement with the Missouri Autism Commission and the Missouri Blue Ribbon Panel on Autism. I enjoy great working relationships with many parents, advocates and providers in the autism and broader disabilities commonalities. She has alienated herself with autism advocates and groups statewide because of her persistently false attacks.

It is sad, because she could be such a positive voice if she would simply acknowledge her errors and work with us and not against us. I have not responded directly or indirectly to her false attacks in a year-and-a-half. We ignore the attacks and continue to work with parents, advocates, providers, the legislature and Governor to transform services for those with individual and developmental disabilities--especially autism--in Missouri.

I regularly respond to parents of children with autism in Lee's Summit and the greater Kansas City region and adults with disabilities and children with autism statewide who need assistance in receiving funding and services. We usually always get positive responses from schools, regional centers, SB 40s, and the Departments of Mental Health, Health and Senior Services, and Social Services.

I'd be more than happy to overlook their attacks and work with them if they would simply bury their hatchets. They could be very positive and effective if they changed their approach and admit they have been mistaken and were willing to work together. I do not expect that and simply keep working for children with autism and their families.

We have strong working relationships with autism and disabilities support groups in Lee's Summit like EFECT and an autism support group led by Jennifer Gray, a Lee's Summit resident who was active with Jennifer Whitty, Kellie Maxwell, Ginger Leutkemeyer and Molly Shad, all autism moms from Lee's Summit, Kansas City, Jefferson City and St. Louis who have assisted us in autism legislation in Jefferson City.

Thanks for your interest and concern and seeking the truth--realizing there is more to the story. When it comes to that blog dedicated against me and--now--my colleagues, you can assume what is posted is not truthful and accurate. Sherri is a partisan blogger against me and my Republican colleagues. As a former pastor and corporate executive, I have seen a lot of slander and false accusation in my nearly 50 years, but none so vociferous as this. Thank you for your consideration.


Jeff Grisamore

State Representative, District 47

Missouri House of Representatives

State Capitol - Room 134

201 West Capitol Avenue

Jefferson City, MO 65101-6806

Office: 573.751.1456

Cell: 816.225.5695

Fax: 573.526.8184

E-Mail: jeff.grisamore@house.mo.gov


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