JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Rep. Jim Neely, R-Cameron, announced his candidacy for assistant majority floor leader Tuesday with a letter mailed to the majority caucus.
“I believe the members, just like you and I, who go to Jefferson City to fight for those most vulnerable citizens in our state deserve a bigger voice in the conversation,” he wrote in the letter. “I am not seeking a leadership position to further a political career, but rather to provide a voice for all of us who look forward to the ride home from the Capitol much more than the drive there.”
Neely, a physician, has primarily worked on legislation involving health care and social work, and the committees to which he belongs, including as the Vice-Chair of the Committee on Children and Families and the Appropriations Committee for Health, Mental Health and Social Services, reflect those ideals.
He says that his bid for assistant majority floor leader is not just a way he’s looking for a promotion, but a way to solve the problems that plague people who do not have corporate interests or larger groups working for them.
“I’ve seen heartache, either in the emergency room or in the office itself, and then in my role as a dad or an entrepreneur, you see things that are troubling you,” he said, detailing his own experiences with patients facing difficult prognoses. “I think as you look at those things in life, you move forward and recognize it’s good to get results for a person who has a hard time getting them.
“Somebody needs to represent those folks that don’t have a lot.”
Neely’s motivation also comes from a desire to do more with his legislative powers. He stated that a few weeks ago he was driving home from St. Louis, he started to have serious thoughts about what his time in office has meant for him, his constituents and even his legislative assistant.
“We have people in this building, such as Christi Dinkins [his LA], who care so passionately about what goes on here in this state,” Neely said. “She pushes me to do better, and it’s the same goals and aspirations I have.”
Neely joins Reps. Kevin Austin, R-Springfield; Holly Rehder, R-Sikeston; and Kathryn Swan, R-Cape Girardeau, in the race for the assistant majority floor leader position.