JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri House Rep. Joe Adams on Tuesday announced he’s throwing his hat into the ring to seek the Senate District 14 seat in 2018.
Adams, a Democrat from University City, is looking to take over in 2018 when the recently censured Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal will be term-limited. He says that he wants to run for the open seat because he believes in government and service.
“You don’t just take, take, take; you give back. And by giving back, you get more,” Adams said. “It may not be financially more, but you get more in the sense of helping people. You get their love, their warmth. I believe in service. That’s my whole life: service.”
And he’s hoping his record reflects that to the voters of District 14, an area that encompasses cities like Berkeley, Ferguson, Bridgeton and Earth City.
Despite his passion for the public, he felt like that many of his colleagues did not share his belief in the role of government.
“I really would like to see the legislators helping the disadvantaged in this state. It feels like they’re not really doing that. For example, the non-expansion of Medicaid in the state of Missouri. It hurt citizens in the state of Missouri and it was giving away money that could have helped rural hospitals stay in business. I think that’s wrong. I think we need to adequately fund our public education systems, throughout the state of Missouri. Without doing that, we’re hurting citizens.”
Adams says he feels a responsibility to help the underprivileged in Missouri and hopes to continue advocating on their behalf in Senate District 14.
“It’s all service. That’s what it is in Jeff City, being a state rep: service. It’s not to get that next job. The next job will come when it comes, if it comes,” he said. “And yes, I think I would like to be the next state senator because I believe I can do a lot of good work in the Senate because I believe my education and experiences have prepared me for that position.”
But to win that seat, he’ll need to claim a victory over another Democrat: former state representative Sharon Pace.
Both candidates hope to win in the overwhelmingly Democratic district, a district that has been at the center of several issues including police relations following the events in Ferguson, improving troubled school districts and addressing health concerns from people living near the West Lake Landfill, an issue that has been strongly championed by Sen. Chappelle-Nadal for years now.
In terms of campaign finances, Adams is leading Pace with nearly $39,000 on hand, while Pace’s last filing shows $27,117.50 on hand.
Should he be elected to the Missouri Senate, he would like to continue his advocacy for criminal justice reform. One of his proposals would make it so that multiple judges would serve on bench trials to ensure unbiased rulings. He also wants the Governor to appoint judges to a community which reflects that particular community, to prevent partisan decisions which could adversely affect a community. Finally, he wants to make it easier for Missourians to vote, particularly by eliminating photo-ID voter laws, which he feels are discriminatory.
“I believe I can do a very good job. My training and experience lead me to that path… I understand government. I understand the needs of the citizens. I work to try and provide for them.” Adams says. “I’m here for the citizens. Not only the SD 14, but all the citizens of this state.”
The Air Force veteran served as a community college professor before he began his career in government. He was a University City Councilman for nearly 20 years before he served as mayor for another 15. In 2014, he was elected to the Missouri House where he has served on the committee for local government, telecommunications, and higher education as well as sponsoring bills for police and ethics reform. This past session, he was able to secure a $2.5 million land grant funding for Lincoln University, one of only two historically black colleges in Missouri.
Michael Layer is a reporter for the Missouri Times and the Missouri Times Magazine. He joined the Missouri Times in August 2017 after graduating from Goucher College the previous May. To contact Michael, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @_MichaelLayer