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Columbia Missourian

VOTERS GUIDE 2012: Candidates for Missouri House of Representatives, 47th district

By Jordan Shapiro, Matthew Patane
September 17, 2012 | 9:00 a.m. CDT

Editor's note:This story originally published in advance of the August primary. It has been updated to include information about the candidates who will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot. This article is part of the Missourian's 2012 general election voters guide.

WHAT'S THE JOB? The Missouri House of Representatives comprises 163 members, one for each of the state’s House districts.

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State representatives must be at least 24, be a qualified voter of the state for two years and be a qualified voter of the district they wish to represent for one year.

Representatives currently earn $35,915 annually and can serve four two-year terms in the House.

After the November general election, Boone County will be represented by five House districts whose boundaries were drawn during reapportionment after the 2010 census. The 47th district represents parts of northwestern Boone County, eastern Howard County, northern Cooper County and southern Randolph County.

The candidates

John Wright (D)

Wright said his Columbia roots and his love for the community enticed him to run for office.

"I believe that public service is an important part of helping our community to maintain its strength and character through time," he said.

A Hickman High School graduate, Wright said Missouri has "under-invested" in education in the past decade, a trend he would work to reverse if elected.

"In the knowledge economy of our time, our most important economic input is the skills and creativity of our work force," he said.

Wright is a board of member of Junior Achievement of Mid-Missouri and is scheduled to be a visiting scholar at MU in the fall semester, a position he would resign if he wins his party's nomination.

Mitch Richards (R)

Although Mitch Richards might lean to more libertarian points of view, he said he can reach voters from all parties.

"I'm young, I'm consistent, and I believe in this country," Richards said at a nomination meeting of Boone County Republicans in June.

While he was a delegate for Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul at the state convention, Richards said he would stand behind Mitt Romney as the Republican nominee for president.

Richards, who grew up in Montana and studied abroad, owns and operates a language consultancy service for international clients. Since moving to Columbia in 2008, Richards has been politically active, working on campaigns opposing the use of eminent domain and the installation of video cameras in downtown Columbia. He is a member of Keep Columbia Free.

Richards previously ran for the First Ward seat on the Columbia City Council but was unsuccessful. He was chosen by county Republicans to seek the 47th District House seat shortly before the end of June after three previous candidates dropped out.

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.