The Missouri Times is speaking to new lawmakers this session. Get to know more of the “Freshmen to Watch” here.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — After teaching AP government and politics for 32 years, Rep. Chris Brown is applying his knowledge in the Missouri statehouse.
“I’ve always had an interest in politics. I was like, you know what, when I’m retired this could really be a good thing for me to do when I’m done with teaching,” Brown, who represents HD 16 in Clay County, told The Missouri Times.
Every spring, Brown would have Public Service Commission Chairman (PSC) Ryan Silvey — who has also served in both the House and Senate — speak to his AP classes. Periodically, Brown would mention his desire to be involved in politics to Silvey who encouraged him.
“For over a decade, Chris had me come speak to his government classes. Over the years we got to know each other pretty well, and he was very inquisitive about all aspects of being a representative, not just the soundbites,” Silvey told The Missouri Times. “As he neared retirement, I urged him to consider running because I knew he is someone I would want to be represented by myself.”
When Brown decided to retire in May, it just so happened that Noel Shull was terming out. Brown spent his summer campaigning and won the November election by a 15 percent margin.
“It couldn’t have been more perfect. I was very lucky that it played out that way,” he said.
Brown has sponsored HB 1208 which would require higher education institutions to accept an AP test score of three or better to receive college credit.
“As a former AP teacher, I would get discouraged at times when I had a great kid in class, who has worked his hind end off all year, they take that AP test — which is a big test — at the end of the year, and they get a three on it,” Brown said. “And then [they] tell me they ended up going to [the University of Missouri], but they didn’t get anything — I mean zero, zilch, nada, nothing — for that three on that AP test because Mizzou takes a four for AP government instead of a three.”
Education, public safety, and small businesses are Brown’s main focus in the legislature. He wants to be known for helping people and his community. He also wants to work on issues that relate to people on a daily basis.
“I want their kids to be in quality schools. I want their families to be safe,” Brown said. “And then I want to help Main Street. I want to help small businesses — in particular, small businesses that have been impacted in a very negative way the last year or so because of this pandemic.”
Brown also told The Missouri Times that at the end of his service, he would like to look back and say: “I left the state and individuals in a better place than when I started.”
Brown serves on the General Laws and Workforce Development committees as well as the Special Committee on Small Businesses.
Elise Eaker studies journalism at Lincoln University. Prior to Lincoln, Elise graduated from Fulton High School. She is a native of Fulton.