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Freshmen to Watch: Rep. Wiley Price

   

Representing the 84th district of Missouri, freshman Rep. Wiley Price brings his skills as a marketing director and his personal worldview to make a positive impact on the legislature.

For Price, there were many factors in his life that inspired him to run for office. But after witnessing events that led him to believe the law needed some changes, Price took it upon himself to get close to those representing the state of Missouri — before he became a state lawmaker himself.

“Prior to me getting to [a] running date, I was just trying to get into position to make actual change. The world is run by law, and I was in several situations where I felt that the law wasn’t on my side or the side of the very people it was built to protect,” Price said. “So I started getting friendly with my state [representatives].”

“[I]t was just time for me to get in here and try to do something for the common man,” Price said.

Price was exposed to politics at an early age. With his father, Wiley Price III, working as a photojournalist for more than 40 years documenting city and state politics, Price was able to observe the political process from a close distance — influencing him in aspects that he had not realized until he decided to pursue a role in government.

“It was just time for me to get in here and try to do something for the common man.”

“My whole life has inspired me up to this point. In fact, I would go as far to say this is a position that I had to mature into,” Price said. “Sometimes when you’re getting [dragged] into these meetings, and your dad’s a photographer, and he’s got to take you down to City Hall, you kind of pick up a lot of this stuff. I picked up a lot of decorum, and the way I take my angles or how I make my point was learned in those times.”

Price credits his father as an inspiration — in more ways than one — over the years, teaching him to always do what feels right while remaining humble. He said his father had to overcome adversity in his career and was eventually added to the Missouri Photojournalism Hall of Fame with his photographs placed in Smithsonian museums.

“I feel like I’m really making a change, and I’m really following in the footsteps of great people like my father,” Price said. “I have a lot of motivation not to fail up here. I have a lot of motivation not to besmirch my name, and I have a lot of motivation to stand in values and what I believe in.”

“My dad showed me how to stay focused, that whatever your position is, just play it,” Price continued. “You can’t be all five men on the court, and that’s what I’m trying to do up here. I’m not trying to be the speaker of the House, the leader of the Democratic Party, and the leader of the Black Caucus. I’m trying to be as effective as possible here.”

Price’s background as a marketing director has also proved valuable as he’s pushed for legislation. Price said he’s adamant about being able to find an issue both sides of the political aisle can agree on so laws can be passed that unite people.

Price has already sponsored a number of bills he believes will enhance the state of Missouri — from legislation pertaining to voter registration to a dedicated day to celebrate Dred and Harriet Scott. Dred Scott was an enslaved man who sued for his and his wife’s freedom, taking his case all the way to the Supreme Court.

Price said he’s also focused on early voting and no excuse absentee balloting.

“I have some things I’m working on for the unhoused or the homeless, juror compensation, and I also have some things on the books for a day for Dred and Harriet Scott because I think it’s critical to remind people that it wasn’t the state of Missouri that convicted that man,” he said. “Just common man legislation and things that affect our everyday [life].”