Rep. Kathie Conway is terming out of the state house in 2018 and not currently running for further office. Conway has been a formidable force in the House for law enforcement.
What would you say your greatest accomplishment as a lawmaker would be?
Working on the budget and finding ways to fund important items without additional GR or taxes.
What do you hope you will be remembered for?
Being fair to all my colleagues and a thoughtful, independent legislator who represented her district.
What’s the best lesson learned or advice you received as a legislator?
Best advice was from former Senator Chuck Gross. He told me it is more important to stop bad legislation than to pass good legislation.
What was the toughest moment or decision for you personally as a state lawmaker?
Whether or not to be the first to publicly ask Governor Greitens to consider resigning.
If you could change your vote on one piece of legislation, would you, and why?
The bill a few years ago that changed gun laws. While I believe solidly in the 2nd Amendment, I believe we took an important tool from law enforcement.
What is one thing you wish you had accomplished?
Found a better way for initiative petitions to be placed on the ballot. I believe in citizens’ right to address issues via the ballot, but too many are not vetted properly, are unconstitutional and have no funding mechanism.
What do you see as the top issues for Missouri going forward?
The obvious and immediate answer is funding for infrastructure. Also, addressing the crime problems of St. Louis and the growing problems in our other metro areas.
What is one piece of advice you would share with the younger legislators still in office or those looking to run for office?
For newly elected members, take the time to listen and learn. Most likely your good idea has been tried before. Find a mentor. If you want to run, be prepared to spend a majority of your time away from your home and family and be dedicated to your responsibilities. None of this is about you.
If you could change one thing about the legislature, what would it be?
Term limits. I believe it’s critical that they are, at a minimum, increased to 16 years in one or both chambers combined.
Who did you most admire as a legislator?
All my colleagues who have been willing to give such a large chunk of their blood, sweat, and tears to leave the state better than they found it.
What will you miss most?
The friends I have served “in the trenches” with.
How has this role of serving changed you?
I have a new appreciation for elected officials. You open yourself up to criticism from everyone, sometimes deserved, often times, not. And they don’t disappoint you. The vast majority of those who serve truly want to do the right thing by their constituency.
What will you do next?
It’s uncertain at this time, but I would like to find a way to use the knowledge I have gained about government and budgets.
Would you consider running for any other offices in the future?
It’s doubtful I would. But never say never!
This appeared in the fall 2018 edition of the Missouri Times Magazine, available in Jefferson City at the Capitol, Tolson’s, Cork, and J. Pfenny’s, and online here.