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(AUDIO): Missouri’s Senate Democratic leader to be honored tonight in Jefferson City

About 400 people are expected to pack Missouri Farm Bureau headquarters in Jefferson City this evening as Missouri’s Senate Minority Leader is honored as the statesman of the year.

State Sen. John Rizzo (D-Independence) was first elected to the House in 2010 and served three terms before being elected to the Senate in 2016. He was re-elected in 2020.

State Sen. Mike Bernskoetter (R-Jefferson City), who’s served with Rizzo in both chambers, says Rizzo is well-respected on both sides of the aisle.

“We were talking about the second degree murder bill and I’ve been working with him and the colleagues on the Democratic side and he’s always trying to make sure that the Republicans and the Democrats are working together,” Senator Bernskoetter tells 939 the Eagle’s “Wake Up Mid-Missouri.”

The Missouri Times is hosting tonight’s event, which begins at 6 o’clock. Senator Bernskoetter is expecting what he calls a fantastic turnout tonight.

“I’ve never really had any trouble working with Senator Rizzo and it’s a very well-deserved honor for all the things that he’s done as a floor leader for the minority party,” Bernskoetter says.

Leader Rizzo has worked closely with members of both parties on key issues, including a bipartisan bill last year that he says was crucial for Kansas City being named as a 2026 World Cup host city. Governor Mike Parson (R) signed Rizzo’s Senate Bill 652, which provides a sales tax exemption for 2026 World Cup tickets to matches at Arrowhead Stadium.

“And when you commit to a city, what had happened in the past was shortly before the tickets went on sale, they would jack up the sales tax on all the tickets. So it was almost a requirement by FIFA to be able to have some assurances that their sales tax rates weren’t going to get hiked up, making the tickets go through the roof,” Rizzo told 939 the Eagle in June.

Leader Rizzo predicts the 2026 World Cup will generate $695-million in economic activity for Missouri. Rizzo compares it to multiple Super Bowls over a 30-day period.