By Collin Reischman
Jefferson City, Mo. — Not every representative is cut from the same cloth. House member Keith English, D-68, is a Florissant native. He’s raised his 3 kids as a single father and he’s a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
None of that is unique, but it’s not common for the House. Sure, the IBEW has had representation in the Missouri House since 1942. Sure, he’s just one of almost 20 of his family members to join the union.
He’s a moderate Democrat, which is how he was able to navigate to a win in 2012, a year that didn’t favor many in his party. But running as a pro-life and pro-gun candidate probably didn’t hurt.
But most of the other union members, electricians and single fathers aren’t also retired cage fighters. As far as the House goes, English’s former profession makes him one-of-a-kind.
As a former Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) trainer and enthusiast, English decided to take up fighting professionally after the death of his mother in 2008. English fought as an MMA fighter from 2008 to the fall of 2012, when he retired. Undefeated.
“I’m a no-nonsense politician,” English told The Missouri Times in his trademark baritone. “I’m not saying I’d use it on the House floor, but I could, if I had to.”
Because of his moderate success as a carpenter and an electrician, English didn’t need to keep any of the winnings from his fight. He routinely gave his winnings to charity. He doesn’t like the cliché, but it’s true: he fought for his causes.
With a record of 10-0, English might make more than one opponent think twice of challenging him on the floor. He’s already showed his constituents what kind of mentality he brings to his work, unflinchingly challenging an incumbent for his seat.
“In life, there’s only so many times you can get kicked around, slapped around, and in politics it happens a lot,” English said. “I felt the people of North County were getting tired of what was happening, not only on a federal level, but on a state level.”