A police officer for roughly two decades, elected mayor for three terms, and a small business owner, Richard West has played an internal part of the New Melle community. Now he wants to take that a step further as a lawmaker.
West is making a bid to represent HD 63 at in the Missouri House. The seat is held by Rep. Bryan Spencer who is in his final term in the lower chamber; he announced in June his intention to run for state Senate in 2022.
“I do not have an agenda. [Spencer] is working on legislation I would like to continue,” West told The Missouri Times.
Pro-life, pro-gun, and pro-local rights, West said his job, should he be elected, would be to be a representative of the community he serves — to represent its stances and beliefs and to do right by them. To do that, his leadership needs to be less about his personal stance on a specific issue and more about how the district feels about an issue and what is right for the state as a whole, he said.
There is not a specific topic, nor one specific issue, that served as a catalyst for West’s decision to run. Rather, he believes he has the right skill set and personality, in combination with his work ethic and motivation, to move the state forward, make a difference, and better the lives of folks in his community and Missouri as a whole.
“I am doing this because I believe we need good people in government who cannot be bought,” West said.
West considers his ability to get along with everyone and work with a variety of people towards a solution as one of his biggest assets. He said he has been elected mayor of New Melle three times, and to him, that is a vote of confidence from the people who know him well.
“This job requires you to be able to hold your values while working with others to get things done,” West said. “That’s me. You don’t last as a police officer for 20 years, you don’t get re-elected three times, if you can’t work with people.”
Alisha Shurr was a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University.