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Politics

Bond Thanks Springfield For Decades of Support

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http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/bondthanks_4003.mp3

One day after surprising his constituents and his own party with the news that he would not seek another term, U.S. Senator Christopher “Kit” Bond toured the state Friday to give thanks to those who sent him to Jefferson City and Washington, D.C. KSMU's Jennifer Moore reports.

Bond started out his day by announcing in suburban St. Louis that he intends to use his last two years in office to expand early childhood education services for families nationwide.

He then traveled to Springfield, where he was greeted by a packed room of local and state leaders at the Discovery Center, a downtown children’s science museum. Introducing him was Springfield mayor Tom Carlson, an outspoken Democrat.

“The man who put God and country and the state of Missouri first, Kit is a partisan Republican, much to my dismay as a Democrat (laughter), but he is a Missourian first," Carlson said.

Carlson said Bond’s work in Washington has led to several improvements to Springfield, including a new airport and the Ready-to-Learn Program. Bond also established the Water Quality Improvement Project, and helped provide funding for area highways and the City Utilities Bus Transfer Facility.

With his wife, Linda, by his side, Bond said as he looked around the room, it was with mixed feelings that he re-stated he will not seek a fifth term as U.S. Senator. He said as the sun sets on his final two years in the Senate, he intends to strive for bi-partisanship.

“Yesterday, I had the honor of going before the Missouri General Assembly, and seeing good friends on both sides of the aisle, and I told them that we have to work with President-elect Obama [and] Governor-elect Nixon,” Bond said.

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Bond said he hopes his successor continues to work with local governments. The former Governor of the Show-Me State said he will continue to be active after he leaves the Senate.

“There are many ways, however, to serve, and elected office is only one of them. I don’t plan to retire because there are so many interesting and challenging things left to do. I’m only retiring from elected office in 2010 after the election,” Bond said.

Also speaking at the event was Bond’s former colleague in the Senate and former U.S. Attorney General, John Ashcroft.

For KSMU News, I’m Jennifer Moore in Springfield.