On the latest episode of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome Missouri state Rep. Shane Roden to the program for the first time.
The Cedar Hill Republican represents portions of northwest Jefferson County in the Missouri House. He was first elected in 2014, a year when the GOP took control of most of that county’s legislative offices.
Before he ran for the state legislature in 2014, Roden was a firefighter and a reserve deputy sheriff. After defeating another Republican candidate by about 500 votes, Roden went onto beat incumbent state Rep. Michael Frame in 2014 by a narrow margin. He had a much higher margin of victory in the 2016 election cycle, as Donald Trump won Jefferson County with roughly 65 percent of the vote.
Since entering the Missouri House, Roden diverged from Republicans on efforts to curb the power of labor unions. He’s repeatedly voted against “right to work,” which bars unions and employers from requiring workers to pay dues as a condition of employment. He’s also been a skeptic of a prescription drug monitoring program aimed at reducing opioid abuse.
- His constituents in Jefferson County don’t have a favorable opinion of protests over former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley’s acquittal on a first-degree murder charge. “If you want to protest, do it peacefully. Do it right,” he said. “But shutting down highways is not the way to get answers and I think it’s actually backfiring for a lot of them.”
- He said one way to get better police officers is to offer up more competitive compensation. He said sheriffs' deputies in rural counties make less than $30,000 a year, a salary that often deters people from getting involved with law enforcement. “When you look at this as a whole, your quality of individuals has gone down because we don’t pay anything,” he said.
- After sending out a district survey, Roden said the vast majority of respondents support legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes. He said it could help people who are dealing with chronic pain – or going through chemotherapy. “I watched my dad go through chemo treatment and everything else, and not be able to eat and go through those issues,” he said. “If marijuana in any form helps him with that issue, why are we — why is this even an issue?”
- He surmises that most people in his district are not paying attention to U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill’s re-election bid. The Democratic senator will likely need to do well in Jefferson County in order to win another term. “The normal person doesn’t give a rat’s butt until next year,” he quipped.
Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum
Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies
Follow Shane Roden on Twitter: @reproden111
Music: “Rudie Can’t Fail” by The Clash