The Missouri Times is speaking to new lawmakers this session. Get to know more of the “Freshmen to Watch” here.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The first thing Democratic Rep. Patty Lewis put in her office was a poster from a small business in Kansas City that reads “come together.”
“I just think it’s kind of an inspiration for both parties to come together and work for the people,” Lewis told The Missouri Times.
Prior to making her way to the Capitol, Lewis worked as an ICU nurse for 20 years — and she’s prioritized health care as her main focus in the legislature. As the only registered nurse in the statehouse, Lewis is proud to represent health care workers, but she said that more representation of her field is needed in the legislature.
While Lewis does not seek to be in the spotlight, she would like to be known for being helpful to her community. Lewis had the value of service instilled by her parents at a young age, but it was the 2016 presidential election that really inspired her to run for office and become more involved civically.
“As I got more involved, I became increasingly concerned with what was happening in our state,” Lewis said. “I am the type of person where I see a problem, and I want to be part of the solution.”
Lewis has proposed legislation related to no-excuse absentee voting, face mask compliance in accordance with DHSS guidelines, guardian ad litem fees, and firearm safety. While she believes in all of her bills, Lewis is most passionate about HB 889, which is a mental health parity bill.
“In the Health and Mental Health Committee, on day No. 1 when we met, we talked about priorities that we wanted to see, and both Republicans and Democrats said mental health,” Lewis said. “I think the reason why I am more passionate about that is I think it is something that can move forward, given the climate and being part of the super minority.”
Lewis serves on the Health and Mental Health Policy, Conservation and Natural Resources, Professional Registration and Licensing, and the Rural Community Development committees.
Lewis was born and raised in Kansas City. She beat her Democratic opponent in the primary election for HD 25 by a 46 percent margin. And she welcomes her constituents and fellow lawmakers to reach out to her.
“Many folks are reluctant to come to the Capitol, which I understand during these times, but I’m just a phone call away,” Lewis said.
Elise Eaker studies journalism at Lincoln University. Prior to Lincoln, Elise graduated from Fulton High School. She is a native of Fulton.