There are no legislative issues to report since the legislature has been out of session for several months. Yet there is big news. Loree Kessler, has retired. She has been a good friend to the profession.
Loree was the second person to serve as executive director of the Massage Therapy Board. She served in that capacity almost from the onset of the Board. Loree oversaw the promulgation of the rules that govern our practice in Missouri. When Loree was first appointed executive director, the Board had no money, since no one had yet been licensed. As is true for all new boards, the Massage Board borrowed money from state government in order to pay its expenses: staff, supplies, rent, mailings, etc. Loree proved to be an excellent money manager. Under her watch, the Board was able to repay the loan from the state sooner than expected.
Her management skills allowed the Board to maintain relatively low fees since the beginning of licensure. Some therapists may remember that during one renewal cycle, our renewal fees were waived. A few years ago, those same fees were reduced during another renewal cycle.
The Executive Director's job is to protect the consumers of massage therapy and to protect consumers of massage therapy education (massage students). She has been very successful in fulfilling these job goals. During Loree's tenure, the massage profession, in Missouri, has grown from about just over 1,500 licensed therapists, to just under 5,000.
A consumer of massage therapy, Loree understands the benefits of the profession. She has attended most of the AMTA state conventions since she became Director, and has made a point of staying as long as necessary to answer the questions of our members. She will be missed.
The new Executive Director of the state Board is Gloria Lindsey. I expect to work collegially with her, as I have with Loree.