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Rep.-elect Chad Perkins On Northeast Missouri’s Deep Red Shift

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State Rep.-elect Chad Perkins, R-Bowling Green
Courtesy of Chad Perkins' Facebook page
State Rep.-elect Chad Perkins, R-Bowling Green

State Rep.-elect Chad Perkins joined St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum on the latest episode of Politically Speaking to talk about his election to the Missouri House and northeast Missouri’s political metamorphosis.

The Bowling Green Republican will represent Missouri’s 40th District, which takes in portions of Pike, Ralls, Monroe and Lincoln counties. He is succeeding state Rep. Jim Hansen, a Frankford Republican who was barred from running again by term limits.

Here’s what Perkins talked about during the program:

  • How northeast Missouri went from a Democratic bastion when he was growing up to one of the most Republican areas in the entire state. Perkins says the national Democratic Party’s leftward drift on social issues supercharged the political realignment.
  • Efforts to overhaul the state’s criminal justice system. Perkins, who served as a deputy Pike County sheriff, discussed some of the ways he feels the Legislature can help sheriff departments across the state.
  • What should be done to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in rural areas. Perkins opposes a statewide mask mandate.
  • How expanding rural broadband may help revive some of rural Missouri’s economic fortunes. Expanding that service has been a priority for rural lawmakers.

Perkins is a Republican committeeman and the former mayor of Bowling Green. That historic town was home to Champ Clark, a former U.S. House speaker who nearly became president before losing the Democratic nomination to Woodrow Wilson.

The counties that make up the 40th District are historically Democratic. But thanks to years of Republican inroads and President Donald Trump’s unprecedented popularity in rural Missouri, Perkins’ win in the August GOP primary was tantamount to election. He did not have a Democratic opponent in November.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.

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