After two terms in the Missouri House of Representatives, Kirk Mathews says he is stepping away from public life and will return to the “real” working world.
Mathews made the announcement through a letter to his House colleagues this week, citing his need to assist his wife in caring for her ill father.
“That is the sole deciding factor,” Mathews told The Missourian. “There may be a season when I could return to public office, but now is a time to refocus my time and energy to my father-in-law.”
Mathews was first elected to his seat in the 110th District in 2014 and was reelected in 2016. In his letter, Mathews says he will serve out the remainder of this term, which concludes at the end of the year. The legislative session, in progress since January, will end at the end of May.
The 110th District mostly encompasses St. Louis County, a small portion of eastern Franklin County and northern Jefferson County. The city of Pacific also is included.
“It’s been a pleasure to serve and I regret having to step down,” Mathews said. “It’s been really great developing relationships with the community and leaders in Pacific.”
Mathews said he has had a few conversations with potential successors to his seat, but wasn’t ready to name any names at this time.
“At this point I’m confident the district will continue to have strong conservative representation in the future,” Mathews said.
On Thursday, Mathews joined his House colleagues in a unanimous vote to proceed with a House investigation into the recent indictment of Gov. Eric Greitens.
Mathews said he is not calling on the governor to resign at this time.
“The House has put an adequate process in place,” Mathews said. “We will have to wait and see what that process leads to.”
During his time in the House, Mathews sponsored or co-sponsored six bills in 2015; 25 in 2016; 13 in 2017; and nine in this current session.
Of the 40-plus bills sponsored in previous years, none reached the governor’s desk to become laws. Instead, many died in House committees or suffered the same fate once reaching the Senate.
In this legislative session, Mathews filed bills on a wide range of issues:
• HB 1769 — Establishes the offense of filing false documents.
• HB 2119 — Modifies provisions relating to punitive damages.
• HB 2238 — Establishes the “Social Innovation Grant Program” to find alternative solutions for serving the state’s vulnerable populations.
• HB 2239 — Modifies provisions relating to electrical contractors.
• HB 2673 — Creates a statewide license for mechanical contractors.
According to his House biography, in 1997 Mathews started a health care company that grew over 14 years to employ physicians in 19 different states.
During that time, he authored a book on recruiting hospitalists and served on the Public Policy Committee of the Society of Hospital Medicine, the professional society that represents the nation’s 42,000 hospitalists.
Since selling the company in 2011, he joined a real estate business that serves the St. Louis area.
Mathews and his wife of 34 years live in Pacific, and are members of Genesis Church Eureka. They have four children.