I’ve learned from each one of the 50 town halls I held across Missouri. And the voices of these Missourians stay with me when I’m at work in the Senate.

So many Missourians are worried, mad at the dysfunction in Washington, concerned that their voices aren’t being heard.

That’s why it was so important to me to go out to every corner of Missouri and listen. To show up, get chewed on, and talk with Missourians about what’s going on in their lives—and hear how I can best fight for them.

My goal in holding public town halls is to put Missourians back in the driver’s seat of their government, and ensure their voices are heard in Washington. And I went all over the state. I listened to thousands of Missourians, who shared with me their hopes, their fears, their anger, and their ideas.

Fifty town halls later, I’ve heard a lot, learned a lot, and am a better Senator for Missouri because of it.

In Farmington, Annie shared her fears that her husband’s pension—the one he’s paid into for decades—is now staring down the possibility of drastic cuts just as they’re getting ready for retirement. At my town hall in West Plains, Robert was worried about potential cuts to Medicare, scared of the negative effects that would have on his savings. Marissa in Maryville shared her concerns that the support she relies on for her higher education may be pulled out from under her.

When one of our military veterans in Rolla stood up to thank me for my work helping and serving our veterans, it was a heartfelt reminder of the importance of this job—the importance of ensuring our veterans are receiving the benefits they’ve earned, of helping families and students prepare for their futures, of making sure seniors can retire with dignity.

These aren’t political talking points from pundits on cable news. These are the lives of hardworking Missourians. Folks worried about their healthcare, their retirement, their education, their futures. I heard their voices and I share their worries.

I’ve learned from each one of the 50 town halls I held across Missouri. And the voices of these Missourians stay with me when I’m at work in the Senate.

When I’m in a hearing with the Secretary of the Treasury about pension funds facing bankruptcy, I’ll remember Annie in Farmington who impressed on me that the problems the pension funds are facing are not the fault of folks like her husband—and yet it’s their livelihoods on the line.

Or if my colleagues in Congress try to make cuts to Medicare or critical support for higher education, the voices of Robert from West Plains and Marissa from Maryville will stiffen my resolve as I fight on their behalf.

When I’m traveling the state, hearing directly from the people I work for, Missourians are riding shotgun. What Missourians told me—their ideas, their concerns, their criticisms—all of it makes me a better Senator, better equipped to achieve the results they expect. And I’m ready as ever to fight for the state I love.