First African-American man elected to Missouri state Senate in 20 years reflects on freshman session

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. - St. Louis native and Missouri State Senator Brian Williams, who grew up in Ferguson, just finished his first session in Jefferson City. He says that while he does have fundamental differences with many of his Republican colleagues on the abortion bill, he confirms both sides are still able to put differences aside and work together.

“It’s not my job to discredit a colleague because they have a different opinion. Disagreeing should not be a death-wish. We should work through disagreements," said Missouri State Senator Brian Williams.

Williams is the first African American male senator elected since Lacy Clay and Jet Banks who left the Senate nearly 20 years ago. He says his message about diversity is being heard as he fights for his district and people of color.

“The majority of bills we worked on in this legislative this session were bi-partisan. Budget and funding public schools and debating issues that affect the state" said Williams.

Williams also says his grandmother pushed him into public service. He quickly realized that service is not self-serving and that all the state representatives and senators have to put in long hours and actually care about moving Missouri forward.

“As a freshman legislator, we got two bills passed across the line. One is sickle cell disease, which we got added to the list of cancer and hospice in terms of having access to prescription drugs. Sickle cell disease effects predominately African-American communities," said Williams.

He says the legislature works hard to learn about the best ways to move the state forward. It’s the only way.

“We recognize the differences are similar, poverty, enhancing the quality of life of folks we represent. We all love our families," said Williams.

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