The Missouri Times is speaking to new lawmakers this session. Get to know more of the “Freshmen to Watch” here.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Just like his favorite comic book hero, freshman Rep. Brian Seitz says he hopes to promote three things in the statehouse: “truth, justice, and the American way.”
Seitz’s office is adorned with Superman memorabilia from wall to wall. He said his admiration for the character caught the attention of many in the statehouse, including House leadership.
“The speaker recognized me last week as the ‘gentleman from Krypton,’” he said. “There are serious issues at hand, serious legislation going through, but I’m all for moments like that.”
Like his icon’s alter ego, Seitz spent much of his career in the newspaper business in Branson, promoting shows and tourism in the area he now represents. He also spent 12 years as a pastor.
“Now that I’m on the Tourism Committee, it’s a hand-in-glove fit for something that I had been doing for almost two decades,” he said. “Except for teaching God’s word, every gift that I have been given has been utilized at the statehouse. I am probably the rightest of right-wings within the Republican party right now, and I don’t mind that at all.”
Though he was involved in College Republicans during his time at Southwest Missouri State University, Seitz said he stepped away from politics for a while before returning to run for the HD 156 seat last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the shifting political climate.
“I thought I could complain about it, as a citizen I could be active in my community, or I could run for office and actually effect change here at the state level,” he said. “I really enjoy what I’m doing here.”
Seitz’s focus during his campaign and his first session have been pandemic-related, aimed at limiting shutdowns and mandates during times of crisis. Another bill would allow the Missouri Legislature to review executive orders handed down by the president.
“I would rather see personal decision-making be involved in how you live your life in reference to a virus,” he said. “A lot of my bills have to do with freedom and liberty and those personal choices that you can make for yourself. COVID-19 is a virus, I believe it exists, but how you respond to that should be up to you.”
Though he had been prepped for the statehouse by his predecessor, the thing that surprised him most during his first two months was the collaboration and networking required to pass legislation.
“It’s all about relationships, and I didn’t really understand that,” he said. “To get anything passed, you have to have a group of like-minded individuals or legislation that the majority would be in favor of, so I’ve spent a lot of time building those bridges and getting to know other representatives personally. You’ve got to make friends here, and that’s been an interesting thing; I don’t think the general public is really privy to how much we have to work together to get things done — no man is an island.”