From ambulance driver to health care executive to the Farmington City Council and now the Missouri House of Representatives, freshman Rep. Dale Wright is a freshman representative to keep an eye on as he begins his career in Missouri state government.
Replacing term-limited Rep. Kevin Engler to represent the 116th House district, Engler was very active in getting Wright to run for office. Engler approached Wright about taking his place after the end of term as representative for the 116th district.
“He actually talked me into doing this a couple of years ago,” Wright said. “I’ve been on quite a few campaigns over the years, national, regional, local, but they were always about other people. That’s when Kevin Engler approached me and let me know that he was being termed out and said that I was one of the people the party would like to see consider running.”
Even Engler could not convince Wright to make a swift decision to jump into the race.
“It took me a year and a half to see if this is something that I should really do, but once I was in, I was in, and I’m really excited about serving,” Wright said. “I actually went to get my physical for military service and I didn’t pass it because of asthma. So I never did get to serve in the service. I feel like this maybe my way of serving our state and serving our community.”
A lifelong Missourian, Wright lived in Farmington for the majority of his life, with the exception of his five years in Rolla where he worked in hospital administration.
Working in health care for 47 years, Wright garnered his reputation as “the health care guy” during his time on the Farmington City Council. Beginning his career in 1970 as an 18-year-old orderly, he later worked as an ambulance driver and eventually in hospital administration. Wright also spent most of his time purchasing and selling medical supplies throughout the years, which gives him insight into the business-centric side of health care.
Wright already has a bill that he has an eye on in promoting.
“It’s an important one and it has to do with expanding nurse practitioner privileges,” Wright said. “It’s something that I truly believe will provide more access to health care to out-state citizens, it will reduce health care costs, and then it will also improve patient outcomes.”
Meeting with several health care groups including Missouri Hospital Association, Wright decided that it was the right bill to pursue. The biggest concern is in figuring out whether nurse practitioners would report to the Board of Healing Arts or the Board of Nurses.
Wright detailed his experience in public service and in the health care industry in an interview with the Missouri Times’ #moleg podcast, which can be listened to at missouritimes.com or on any podcast application.
This profile is part of the Freshmen to Watch Series. Who do you think is a Freshman to Watch and why? Email your insight to Kaden Quinn at kaden(@)themissouritimes.com.
FEATURED PHOTO/FACEBOOK-DALE WRIGHT