The Missouri Times is speaking to new lawmakers this session. Get to know more of the “Freshmen to Watch” here.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — In his first few months serving in the statehouse, Rep. Chad Perkins has learned the Capitol never sleeps.
“I have found here that as much gets done at night as it gets done during the day,” Perkins, a Republican, told The Missouri Times. “You have your sessions and you have your meetings, but you also work with people in the evening to get a strategy on how you get legislation passed.”
Perkins is the new representative of HD 40 which includes Lincoln, Monroe, Pike, and Ralls counties. He said his district is unique because it is larger than Rhode Island and roughly the same size as Delaware.
Perkins has quite the eclectic resume: He has worked as a radio show host, deputy sheriff, and DARE instructor. He is also the former mayor of Bowling Green.
But it’s his background in public safety that is guiding his time in the legislature, he said.
“Law enforcement was a good foundation for coming here because you have a working idea of how some of this works, but maybe not all of it,” Perkins began. “I think for both being in law enforcement and as a legislator, it’s important to promote where people come from, how it will affect people — the decisions you make — and I think that’s sort of universal in both positions.”
Already, Perkins has sponsored bills pertaining to SNAP benefits, the establishment of the Uniform Public Expression Protection Act, and the selling of an old MODOT facility. But he is most passionate about HB 217 which would institute work, school, or volunteer requirements for SNAP benefits.
“I probably grew up as poor as anybody else in this building,” Pekins said. “Don’t tell me that you can’t work, you can’t pull yourself up, because we are all capable of doing that. … I’m not a big fan of making those excuses and saying we can’t because I think a person could do whatever they set their mind to.”
Perkins said he views his work at the Capitol as a team effort and wants to be known for his open-door policy.
“One of us by ourselves really can’t accomplish a lot,” Perkins said. “It’s really important to develop relationships and be a part of a team.”
Perkins serves on the Corrections and Public Institutions, Downsizing State Government, and Local Government committees as well as the Special Committee on Criminal Justice.
Elise Eaker studies journalism at Lincoln University. Prior to Lincoln, Elise graduated from Fulton High School. She is a native of Fulton.