This week, Rep. David Evans announced his plans to run for reelection for the 154th District in the Missouri House of Representatives.
Evans, a Republican from West Plains, says he is excited to run again and will continue to work hard for the common sense, conservative values of Howell County.
“We owe a duty to our children and our children’s children to leave them a better and safer future,” Evans said. He explained he was taught by his parents and his faith that giving back to one’s country and community is a lifelong responsibility.
Evans said he looks forward to the next legislative session and beyond.
“Representing the people of the 154th District has been a humbling and rewarding experience,” he said.
According to Evans, one of his priorities for the coming legislative session, should he be reelected, is a focus on community safety. As a former presiding circuit court judge, he believes giving judges greater discretion in either denying bond or setting unique bond conditions could cut down on the number of repeat offenders and set fair bond requirements for low-income individuals.
“There have been complaints about the revolving door with repeat offenders and that there are no teeth to the law anymore,” Evans said. “This is intended to allow judges to look at a whole spectrum of factors and use their discretion regarding the safety factor individuals pose.”
In addition, he wants to look into changing the law restricting driving and texting in Missouri to cover all drivers, not just those who are younger than 21.
“I think it would send a message that, yes, this is a serious problem and we need to be addressing it,” Evans said.
A report by the Missouri State Highway Patrol shows that 21,664 vehicle crashes in the state involved distracted driving and texting was a big factor in those statistics.
Evans also wants to make the state’s seat belt laws tougher.
Evans said some communities have enacted tougher seat belt laws but, currently, state troopers cannot pull someone over for not wearing a seat belt. Missouri is one of only 15 states where seat belt laws are considered secondary enforcement, meaning state troopers can ticket drivers for not wearing a seat belt only if they were pulled over for another offense.
According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 16% of Missouri drivers do not wear seat belts; this is higher than the national average of 10%.
In addition to improving public safety, Evans said he wants to help improve healthcare and, while he is not opposed to the idea of Medicaid expansion in the state, he recognizes the issue of paying for it.
Statistics released by the American Community Survey show that, in 2017, 120,000 Missouriansfell into what is often called the “Medicaid gap,” meaning they make too much to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to receive subsidies from the Affordable Healthcare Act.
Evans said he recognizes the need to tackle increasing health care and prescription drug costs in the state and is looking into solutions.
In his Capitol Report column, published on Page 2 of Tuesday’s Quill, Evans brought up the closure of Regal-Beloit in West Plains and said he and State Sen. Mike Cunningham have tried to work with the company to find a solution to keep the factory open, and he is aware of the hit it the closure could be to the community.
“It’s gut wrenching to all of us, especially to those families directly impacted,” Evans said.
He also he felt a personal connection to the issue as his father, the late Mayor Joe Paul Evans, was part of the team which helped bring Marathon Electric to West Plains. Marathon was later bought by Regal-Beloit.
Rep. Evans said workforce development and attracting new industry to Howell County will be major focuses of his moving forward into the next legislative session.
In August, Gov. Mike Parson announced the launch of the Fast Track Workforce Investment Grant to help retrain displaced workers, and to help those who have been out of college into fields related to science, technology, math and engineering.
The plan is to improve the workforce base, to be more enticing to manufacturers looking to relocate to Missouri.
Another bill Evans helped pass this year was ‘Save the Family Farm,’ which he says will help preserve family farm lands that are passed down from one generation to the next.
“The new law simplifies court procedures and encourages mediation between the families giving the family a fighting chance to keep the farm within the family,” Evans explained.
He said the issue was brought to his attention by several local farm families.
To contact Representative David Evans call his office at 573-751-1455 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.