Ollie W. Gates of Kansas City was elected chairman of the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission by the five other members of the commission. Barry Orscheln of Mobely also was elected vice chairman.
Jim Anderson of Springfield and Bill McKenna of Crystal City also took their oath as they join present commissioners Ed Douglas of Chillicothe, outgoing vice chairman, and Marge Schramm of Kirkwood. Anderson and McKenna succeed William Gladden and S. Lee Kling, whose terms expired.
Gates and Orscheln have served on the commission since 1998.
The commission is a six-member, bipartisan panel that guides the Missouri Department of Transportation, which constructs and maintains Missouri’s transportation system. Commissioners are appointed by the governor and serve six-year terms.
Gates is president of Gates’ Bar-B-Q in Kansas City. He founded the family-operated franchise in 1956, which now includes five restaurants in the Kansas City area.
Orscheln is president of Orscheln Industries, headquartered in Moberly. The company is engaged in manufacturing auto parts, retail and hardware sales, real-estate development and other interests.
Anderson and McKenna were appointed to the commission last month by Gov. Bob Holden. Anderson has been president of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce since 1988. McKenna, interim president of Jefferson College in the Jefferson County community of Hillsboro, served in the state House for 10 years and the Senate for five years.
Anderson and McKenna also were elected to the Missouri Highway and Transportation Employees’ and Highway Patrol Retirement System, succeeding Douglas and Gladden. Orscheln is chair of the retirement system.
The commission also recognized former Chairman Kling and former Commissioner Gladden for their service to Missouri. Kling, of St. Louis, has served on the commission since 1997 and as chairman since 1998; Gadden, of Houston, has served on the commission since 1997.
The meeting focused on transportation needs and funding.
“Transportation’s important to Missouri,” Douglas said, “and we need to secure additional funding if we’re to provide the transportation improvements Missourians tell us they want.”
Douglas praised the commission for addressing the lack of adequate transportation funding, for its long-range planning efforts and for making tough decisions about project priorities.
Anderson and McKenna said the appreciated the opportunity to guide Missouri transportation policy and emphasized the challenges that lie ahead.
“Coming from Springfield, which has the amenities of both rural and urban Missouri,” Anderson said, “I feel I will offer a good, balanced perspective about Missouri’s transportation needs and the resources to meet those needs. My experience on the Transportation Advisory Committee in 1999 also will be invaluable.”
McKenna said his legislative service made him more familiar than most with the challenge of balancing overall state needs with those of transportation.
“We on the commission have to have a role in finding new dollars,” McKenna said, “and do it while recognizing the great variety of demands that confront Missouri. I hope to live up to the confidence Gov. Holden placed in appointing me to carry out this job.”
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