The Missouri Times is speaking to new lawmakers this session. Get to know more of the “Freshmen to Watch” here.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo — Rep. Randy Railsback, from HD 8, is bringing his experience from working with federal, state, and local governments to the Capitol.
Railsback has lived and worked on his family farm in Hamilton his whole life. Prior to being elected to the statehouse, Railsback served as the executive director of multiple regional planning commissions: He was the executive director of the Northwest Regional Planning Commission for 12 years and the executive director of the Green Hills Regional Planning Commission for 18 years.
Although Railsback has been working with federal, state, and local governments his whole career, he said he is just now getting used to the political side of things.
“As an executive director of the regional planning commission, we are not allowed to be involved with partisan politics. We work with whoever is elected. Our job is to work for our local governments,” Railsback told The Missouri Times. “Consequently, I came into this very bipartisan, I see both sides of issues. That being said, I am getting used to the politics.”
As a result of working closely with local governments, Railsback feels like working as a representative is a natural fit for him.
“This was not a stretch for me. I’m comfortable with all of the programs and know most of them inside and out. This makes sense,” Railsback said. “So after 30 years, my state representative, Dr. Jim Neely, was termed out, and everybody was like, ‘You need to do this.’
Railsback said he wants to be known as “the guy who got down and tried to fix things.” Railsback has teamed up with other representatives to draft a bill that would create a state building usage task force. Railsback said it is unknown how many buildings the state of Missouri owns.
“Honestly, I think we have some buildings our communities could get some good out of — if they knew that they were available. Or let’s make them available,” he said. “In my area, up in Cameron, we’ve got a prison that’s been closed and is sitting there.”
One of the main focuses Railsback has while in office is establishing a rural development policy for the state.
“We tend to have a one-size-fits-all for the state, and there’s a big difference between Kansas City, St. Louis, Springfield, and then the rest of the rural areas,” Railsback said. “And so when it comes to broadband transportation, education, all those kinds of issues, we really need a different policy for rural areas. … We are one state for sure, but we need different approaches of things.”
Elise Eaker studies journalism at Lincoln University. Prior to Lincoln, Elise graduated from Fulton High School. She is a native of Fulton.