Government Relations

UM Legislative Update Newsletter

September 15, 2005

Profile: Rep. Kevin Wilson

Rep. Kevin Wilson (R-Neosho) received a bachelor of science degree in management from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1980. “I came to MU because I wanted to be part of the ROTC Core,” Wilson said. “There was a lot of camaraderie and I developed great friendships through that organization. An Air Force ROTC scholarship took me to MU, and I wanted to be a journalist, so I wanted to go there.” The Air Force changed Wilson’s plans in terms of his major, and he instead majored in business.

As a student at MU, Wilson also enjoyed working on the color guard at football games and working at the concession stand at the games. “The football team during those years was up and down. I always remember one Saturday during my freshman year in Columbia,” Wilson said. “We heard Marching Mizzou at 12:30 a.m. out playing and marching. We weren’t sure what was going on, and then someone said MU had just upset USC. That was exciting.”

A Mizzou professor sparked Wilson’s interest in political science. Rick Hardy’s political science class was Wilson’s first class as an undergraduate, and one he will always remember. “There were more people in the class than I had in my hometown.”

After being honorably discharged with the rank of captain from the U.S. Air Force in 1985, Wilson went on to work as corporate director of human resources for MOARK, L.L.C.; human resources manager for La-Z-Boy Midwest; and director of personnel services for Joplin R-VII Schools.

He was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 2002 to represent part of Newton and McDonald counties (District 130). Wilson serves as vice chair of the Insurance Policy Committee and as a member of Appropriations-Education; Senior Citizen Advocacy; the Joint Committee on Economic Development, Policy & Planning; and the Special Committee on Education Funding.

In addition to his legislative duties, Wilson is a management consultant with Kbwilson and Associates, L.L.C. He also serves as a deacon at Neosho First Baptist Church, and has served as a member and past president of the Neosho R-V School Board and as a member of the Neosho Chamber of Commerce, among other organizations. He was named one of the top five First Year Jaycees in the U.S. as well as Outstanding Young Man of America.

“When I think of the University of Missouri’s mission, I see the University has the flagship institution of our state,” he said. “It represents the highest level of education, of research, and extension as well. For those students who want to pursue a high quality higher education experience, we have to make sure that we provide that type of public institution in Missouri so that those students don’t go out of state.”

Extension services and programs have a great impact in Wilson’s own district. “Although we are a long way from the University itself, Extension does a lot in rural areas,” he said. “It serves many needs for the people in my corner of the state.”

Wilson cites the greatest challenges facing higher education as funding, and, specifically, finding ways to collaborate and make the most out of each dollar. “With the current state of our government and spending on other issues, higher education has taken a back seat. But it has been up to the challenge so far and is doing very well.”

Higher education is a vital part of the state’s future, Wilson notes. “Economic development hinges on having an educated workforce,” he said. “You need a strong partnership between four year colleges, community colleges, elementary and secondary education and the University system to have a delivery system to meet society’s needs.”

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