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Best of the Legislature 2018: Rep. Kevin Corlew


A lawmaker from the Northland spent his tenure in the Missouri House spearheading a push for an improved transportation infrastructure system, an overhaul of the current tort laws, and other difficult, complex issues.

Kevin Corlew wasn’t afraid to cross the aisle and put aside partisan lines to carry out policy changes he believed would better Missouri.

An attorney by trade, Corlew was first elected to represent his community in the General Assembly in 2014 and re-elected in 2016. Prior to law school, he worked as a church youth director where he led ministries for junior high, senior high, and college students.

“Public service is very important to me. I think public service is a virtual most should strive to do,” said Corlew. “I will continue to look for ways I can help make our world a little better. I will continue to look for opportunities to serve the public in one form or another. I will always look for opportunities to better our community, our state, and our great country.”

In his tenure serving in elected office, he headed the transportation task force and the House judiciary committee. He pushed for legislation including REAL ID compliance, protecting the First Amendment rights of students, tort reform, protections for police officers seeking peer counseling, and other issues.

“In terms of transportation, I focused that because I see that as one of the most pressing issues the state has to deal with. Too many lawmakers seem content with kicking the can down the road and not getting anything done on that,” said Corlew. “We are situated in such a way, that we should absolutely be the transportation and distribution leader of the Midwest, if not the nation, because of the rail access we have…the waters ways we have…and such.”

He noted that the state is letting the current transportation infrastructure deteriorate and that by not focusing in on it, they are not taking advantage of ways to move the economy forward.

Missouri is not being good stewards of its transportation infrastructure system, according to Corlew. 

As chairman of the transportation task force, the Kansas City Representative was instrumental in creating a report laid a roadmap for policymakers to follow to improve Missouri’s transportation infrastructure.

The report released at the beginning of 2018 thoroughly examines Missouri’s transportation infrastructure. It lays out a road map to creating a world-class transportation system, said Corlew.

As chairman of the House judiciary committee, he helped guide legislation on updating and reform Missouri’s legal landscape. Corlew worked hard on bills he filed himself, and measures other Representatives filed, to make Missouri a better place.

In particular, he is proud of the committee’s work on the treatment court expansion bill, criminal justice reform, and adoption legislation. Corlew was also the co-sponsor of a bill that put some emphasis on law enforcement in terms of peer counseling for those who have gone through traumatic.

His willingness to put the State of Missouri first, and not necessarily his next election, is part of what made him a good lawmaker. He aimed to be an effective leader with character and integrity. Corlew was not afraid to put aside partisan labels when necessary and he was well versed on the subjects he advocated for.

“The most important thing I learned is that you have to work together to accomplish things that improve the lives of Missourians,” said Corlew. “You have to be willing to put aside your preconceived notions and you have to listen to people and work together to get things done. Give and take.”

This piece is featured as part of the Missouri Times’ Best of the Legislature 2018 appearing in the January 2019 Missouri Times Magazine.