“No one made it a point to educate us on politics and government,” Rep. Bruce Franks Jr. said. “There was no one that looked like me in legislating and no one who comes from the same place I come from. After the death of Mike Brown and protesting for 400 days straight it was like, ‘What’s next in policy?’ So, I accepted the challenge to run for representative.”
Bruce Franks Jr. is finishing his first two-year term, representing part of St. Louis City in District 78. Along with his legislative duties, Franks is a small business owner, having operated Kwik Tax Services for six years in St. Louis.
Franks has stayed in St. Louis his whole life and continues to strive to make his community a better place. “I didn’t see the point in going somewhere else and fixing someone else’s community when I could stay and help the community that I grew up in.”
In his first two-year term, Franks has accomplished a lot that he is proud of. He was able to put $9.5 million into the budget for youth jobs. He was also able to get his bill, HCR 70, passed and signed by the governor. The bill relates to youth violence, declaring it as a public health epidemic.
“HCR 70 also involves Christopher Harris Day, which is on June 7th. It’s in honor of my brother, Chris, who was killed,” Franks said. “It’s a day of advocacy for violence protection, identifies youth violence has a public health epidemic and urges the state to promote trauma-informed education.”
Franks has worked hard for his community and continues to do all that he can to represent his district and bring resources to his community. “I hope to work across the aisle to heavily focus on justice reform,” Franks said. “It’s a common denominator no matter where we are at in the state.” Franks also wants to work more to promote mental health awareness and get rid of the stigma that the black community is facing, by helping facilitate necessary resources.
One thing that Franks has learned in his first two-year term is that communication is the most powerful thing on earth. “I learned that you can teach an old dog new tricks. I’ve talked to many legislators that were stuck in their ways and I was able to talk to them, show them my perspective, and make them see where I was coming from.”
Franks lives by the quote “it’s hard to forget where you come from.” It is a reminder to him of the work that can be done within his community every day. When he has spare time, he says that he still participates in rap battles and he goes bowling with his friends.
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.