District 7 Representative
Rusty Black, Republican
Rep. Rusty Black, a Republican, represents Grundy, Livingston Counties and a majority of Linn County (District 7) in the Missouri House of Representatives. He was elected to his first two-year term in November 2016.
In addition to his legislative duties, Black worked as an Agriculture Educator for 32 years before retiring in 2016. During his time as a teacher, Rep. Black worked at Nodaway-Holt R-7 for five years and Chillicothe R-2 Schools for 27 years.
A graduate of the University of Missouri - Columbia, Rep. Black earned his Bachelor’s of Science in Agriculture in 1983, and went on to graduate with a Masters in Agriculture Education by 1993.
Why should Linn County citizens choose you over your opponent?
I believe my past two years working for District 7, has made me more effective in working for the district. Now that I understand the role better I am doing a better a job of representing our people. My background fits our area well. I have been very active in the community. My passion and goals fit well with our area.
What legislation, if any, will you sponsor to help the citizens of Linn County?
Actual legislation, I have nothing in mind currently. I want to make Sliced Bread Day a statewide holiday, to bring more people to our area. It would give another reason for people traveling U.S. Highway 36 to come to our area. The majority of where my interests are is our budget. I want to bring money back to our area. We cannot let areas that have 10 representatives per square mile take money out of our district. I am for moving Locust Creek. I am in support of Proposition D to help our roads and bridges. I do have a piece of legislation that hurt some of our teachers and school employee retirement. I am going to fix House Bill 2335 for our area teachers and school staff.
What is your stance on Amendment 1?
I am going to vote no on Amendment 1. Everybody thinks we need ethics reform, but many of us don’t know what’s already in place. I don’t believe the ethics reform contained in this amendment goes far enough to address the real problems. The change is not moving the bar the way it should. I believe this bill is focussed on making redistricting reform easier for people to vote on. The issue to me is when this official will go to redistrict and some maybe Linn County will get tied with voters in Columbia. This may be an issue where rural voters may receive less representation. After being in Jefferson City for the past two years, I have not seen the ethics reform contained within this amendment as nearly as big of an issue as it has been made out to be.
How do you hope to work with colleagues across the aisle?
Not every issue is decided by ‘D’ and ‘R.’ Honestly, that’s where I sat on the floor for the past two years. I was seated next to state Democrats. Those were the people I talked to while we were in session. We communicated, worked together. People want it to seem like there isn’t participation already happening. I have plenty of friends that are Democrats, I don’t see how this would be anything that would hinder me.
Infrastructure is a big problem in northern Missouri, roads are in need of repair and many buildings are very old, how do you hope to change this?
When I think of infrastructure, I think of gas lines, sewer systems etc. Infrastructure isn’t just roads and bridges. We do not budget money to take care of facilities. We’re so busy managing and mandating things that we don’t have enough time to take care of our facilities. In District 7, I think one of the most important pieces that needs to be addressed in our roads though. If Proposition D passes, a major focus will be getting more overlay on our state highways and routes. It won’t be fixed in a year, it’s going to take time, but it will make our roads better. I want to speed our internet up. This would be one factor in reducing our population decline. It would be great to see Interstate 72 expanded through our area.