Five questions with Rep. Shawn Rhoads, R-West Plains
1. What was your first campaign experience?
My first campaign experience was knocking on doors for the [West Plains] school district election seven years ago. I realized that’s the way to do it because you really get to talk to people and get them to open up to you. I tried to do them all but maybe 500 to 600. Tried to see voting records to know who really voted in school board elections — it was interesting.
2. In what ways have you made a tangible effect on your constituents’ lives during the past legislative session?
I think a lot of it is trying to inform people about what’s going on. A lot of people don’t know what’s happening. Every two weeks I would hold a town hall meeting about what’s going on. I’d ask what people thought about issues like the Department of Revenue situation. Conceal and carry issues are a big deal to my constituents. I would have anywhere from 20 to 100 people [at the town hall events]. You want people informed and that’s the thing I strive for.
3. Who from the opposing party do you most respect? And your own party?
Chris Kelly is someone I respect a lot. He has a good knowledge of things from his years in the House. He’s an asset when you want to ask about stuff from the past, and he’s not going to say he won’t help you because you’re on the other side of the aisle. He’s a good statesman and is really good at what he does.
There are quite a few from my side of the aisle who I respect. I don’t think I could pick just one. I don’t think there’s one that I could say ‘oh it’s this guy.’ We work as a team and when you work as a team, you’re stronger.
4. What was your dream job growing up?
I did it for about 12 years — I was a police officer. A little different than being in office, but either way you help a lot of people. I grew up in the country and I never knew any of the police officers and didn’t have contact with them but admired what they did.
5. What do you most enjoy about the interim?
Over the last year and a half my wife was finishing her Masters program for being a nurse practitioner and I was campaigning. So, I enjoy being home with my family more now than I was then because we’re actually all here.
Other than that, I like doing things with the folks in the community. State [Representative] isn’t a five months out of the year job. I quit my job to run for this position. I had a lot of faith, we’ll say. My wife asked what I was going to do in the off time and I said we’ll see how things go because we might be busy, and I have been. I’ve had meetings with the hospital about Medicaid and different entities [for other issues].
I live in such a small community where everyone knows who you are and you see people in the store and talk for a while and catch up, so I’m doing a lot of that too.