The Women’s Foundation worked with former Missouri House Speaker Todd Richardson to provide paid parental leave to House employees, combat sexual harassment in the Capitol, and reduce burdensome occupational licensing barriers.
Now the director of the MO Healthnet Division, Todd Richardson visited with us about what motivated him to run for office and why he hopes more women get involved in public service.
What made you decide to get involved in public service?
Our son was one year old when I decided to run for office. We are fortunate to live and work in the same community we grew up in - a community that gave us many wonderful opportunities. I ran for office to ensure those opportunities exist for future generations of Missourians.
What’s the biggest challenge or setback you’ve faced?
Public service, like many other things, demands a lot of energy and time. It is also incredibly rewarding. With two young children at home, the biggest challenge is to strike the balance between doing the job the way it needs to be done and not allowing work to consume everything.
What is your advice to others, especially women, who want to get involved in public service?
Do it! More women are running for office than ever before, and they are winning. Despite this progress, there are still candidate recruitment challenges that both parties must focus on. I had the privilege to serve with some incredibly talented women, and their presence in the General Assembly has a tremendous impact on public policy in our state.
What’s your favorite thing about serving in your role?
The most rewarding part of being in the General Assembly was the opportunity to directly help the people I served, whether that was advocating for their interests, listening to their concerns, or navigating government bureaucracy.
Who inspires you?
My father’s public service in the General Assembly inspires me. At a young age, I saw that good people in public office can make a difference in people’s lives. His example informed how I approached my time in office.
About Change Maker Profiles:
Our Change-Maker Profiles feature elected officials, civic leaders, and everyday citizens who are working for change in Missouri and Kansas.