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Congressman Jason Smith visited Fredericktown recently to commemorate Madison County's Bicentennial by presenting the Madison County Chamber of Commerce with a Congressional Record.

Chamber President Tessa Rehkop introduced U.S. Rep. Smith to those gathered at the luncheon. 

"Congressman Jason Smith is a seventh-generation Missourian, raised in Salem in Dent County," Rehkop said. "He began his career in public service in 2005, when he was elected to the Missouri General Assembly. He quickly rose through the ranks and became one of the youngest Majority Whips and then Speaker Pro Tems in Missouri State House history."

Rehkop said Smith was the winner of the 27-candidate primary and special election for the 8th Congressional District after the retirement of Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson.

"One of the youngest members of Congress, Jason Smith serves on the Budget Committee and the Ways and Means Committee and was elected by his peers to be Republican Conference Secretary," Rehkop said. 

Smith then presented the chamber board with a Congressional Record honoring the 200th anniversary of Madison County.

"Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the bicentennial birthday of Madison County, Missouri," Smith said as he read the Congressional Record to the crowd. "Named for President James Madison, the county was officially organized on Dec. 14, 1818. The Osage Kickapoo Indians formed trade routes through its rolling farmland and heavily forested hills in the early 17th Century.

"The French prospected for lead here. Indeed, Madison County is on record as having the oldest lead mine west of the Mississippi River. It has also been home to the mining of cobalt, copper, silver and red marble."

Smith paused from reading the Congressional Record to say how interesting it is that Madison County was named after the fourth president because he was the secretary of state during the Louisiana Purchase under President Jefferson.

"To know the history that the oldest road came right through Madison County because we had the oldest lead mine west of the Mississippi, it's pretty amazing," Smith said.

The Congressional Record said early settlers brought the names DeGuire, LaChance, Viriat, Nicholl,Trudeau, Pratte, Valle, Beauvais, DeClue and Chevalier to the area.

"Today, Madison County is home to more than 12,000 people and welcomes visitors each year to the Missouri Whitewater Championships, Marquand Pioneer Days, Madison County Fair and the Azalea Festival," Smith said. "It is my honor to acknowledge this historic birthday before the United States House of Representatives and to honor the people of Madison County, Missouri as they celebrate all year long."

Smith said the comments that were presented in the Congressional Record were presented Nov. 1 and will be there for history, forever.

"It is a pretty special thing," Smith said. "I don't do that for everything, actually not that often."

Smith said he was honored to present the words before the United States House of Representatives and that he wanted to make sure he made it for the event.

"Its not something that a lot of people can say," Smith said. "This county is celebrating 200 years when some countries have never celebrated 200 years and it's actually older than what Missouri is as a state."

Smith said a lot of history is right here in Madison County.

"It's an honor to be with you all here in Madison County," Smith said. "I am not able to see every county as often as I would like to since we have 30 in our Congressional District, but I wanted to make sure we were here."

Smith said Missouri's 8th Congressional District is his home and visiting the counties is the best part of serving the people and the communities.

"We have 30 wonderful, unique counties but to celebrate 200 years is quite an honor," Smith said. "I'm glad to be here to do it and to present the words that we have before the House of Representatives."

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Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Democrat News. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at vkemper@democratnewsonline.com

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