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Freshmen to Watch: Representative Matt Sain


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Growing up with two parents serving as pastors, Rep. Matt Sain spent a great deal of time with the church and became extremely active in community service. It was this time that served as a catalyst for his interest in law and public service.   

Growing up, Sain, a freshman Democrat who works as a law clerk, spent a lot of time serving others — from working in soup kitchens to building homes in Mexico to assisting with relief efforts after major flooding in Nashville.

Sain attended law school at UMKC so he could be equipped to assist individuals who had difficulty attaining legal representation and educate those who were unaware of their rights as citizens.

“Attorneys can cost a lot of money and because they cost a lot of money, that’s a [barrier] for them to get adequate representation, and it stymies them from protecting themselves,” Sain told The Missouri Times.

Sain said he got his degree in criminal justice with plans to go into law enforcement. His program, he said, was taught by former police officers, detectives, CIA agents, and attorneys general.

“I got a real hands-on, practical learning about the criminal justice system, it’s history, what things work, and what things don’t, and where we need to go in the future here in Missouri,” he said.

This education has assisted Sain in the state legislature because it’s helped him understand which bills would benefit Missouri and which would be ineffective.

“That’s how we understand when bills come up that adds additional penalties or are tougher on crime,” said Sain. “The studies show [what] doesn’t work, and so I’m able to catch onto those because it’s easy for us to be intuitive to say, ‘Oh, you did something, and this thing keeps happening so we should just make it a harsher penalty,’ but in reality that doesn’t work. When people commit a crime, they’re going to commit the crime regardless of whatever the penalty is, they’re not thinking about that.”

“So I’ve been able to use that practical knowledge in the studies and sciences,” Sain, a member of the House Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee, said. “I’ve learned to … really help teach other community members why a bill is bad and that we shouldn’t go in this direction while this is what we can do to make it better.”

Sain, who upset incumbent Republican Rep. Kevin Corlew last year, has made it his priority to improve public schools, senior services, and Medicaid. However, his main focus for this session is on his bills that he believes would greatly benefit Missouri.

HB 929 streamlines the process of voter registration, HB 1031 would establish pharmaceutical transparency by creating a civil penalty if an increase in the cost of a prescription drug was deemed to be not justified, and HB 1148 would create a joint committee invested in establishing a high-speed railway, such as the Hyperloop.