April 30, 2018 — Rick Mellon has thrown his hat as a Democratic candidate in the race for the 39th District of Missouri House of Representatives.
A life-long resident of Ray County, Mo., Mellon retired from Ford Motor Company nearly two years ago, after 23 years of service.
Mellon and his wife Cindy reside on the family farm outside of Lawson. They’ve been married since 1981, and have one daughter, Kelli, who passed away in 2008.
Mellon graduated from Lawson High School in 1973 and entered the U.S. Air Force. After four years of service, Mellon went into the grocery business where he continued to work for 13 years. Through the GI Bill, Mellon completed a bachelor’s degree at William Jewell College in Business Management.
A Bernie Sanders supporter, Mellon began watching documentaries and volunteering with the local Democratic party after the 2016 election. Mellon was concerned about news stories he’d read, that were detrimental to unions and working families in his community. He decided he was tired of complaining about how things were and wanted to step forward with a voice of change.
“These defined benefits are going away quicker in private industry than they are in the public,” Mellon explained. “There’s no reason why we can’t give our next generation the things that we had.”
Mellon elaborated about a recent trip with his wife Cindy, who retired from teaching in Lawson R-XIV School District after 31 years, to a meeting of Missouri Retired Teachers Association.
“They’re concerned about their pensions,” Mellon said. “It’s a constant battle for them.”
Working for Ford for many years, Mellon discovered that unions allowed for transparency in the work
place. Men and women are paid the same wage for the same jobs.
“There’s no discrimination,” Mellon added.
Mellon believes that corporations and big money have had a hand in how things are being run in Jefferson City.
“I disagree with the influence of big money interest on the state legislature,” Mellon said.
Mellon wants families in the 39th District to be able to make enough money to make a living, and then maybe more. He cites that there is a 15 percent poverty level in Ray, Carroll and Chariton counties that comprise the district.
“If you’re always wanting for things, just the bare necessities,” Mellon continued, “how free are you?”
Mellon also believes that a few other challenges face the constituents in his district: infrastructure, broadband internet and taxes.
“Rural communities are losing population, so they’re not able to maintain infrastructure, roads and bridges,” Mellon explained. “Broadband internet allows people to work at home, and in a rural areas, so you can still live in the area you grew up in or love, without going to the cities or long distances.”
“Or start a business of their own,” he continued. “If you live in a rural area, you pay taxes in a rural area, you maintain life in a rural area.”
Mellon believes that taxes should be progressive on income tax, not sales tax, because it has a larger impact on poor families.
“You can’t help the poverty rate if there’s not any jobs out there,” Mellon said.
A lot of issues become entangled and entwined.
“All of this affects the people,” he said.
Mellon thinks that fighting for ethics reform will help as well.
“So our elected officials think first of the voters who they are working for,” Mellon said.
Mellon believes that his campaign will be a grassroots movement, where he is embracing social media and local community spirit. Most of all, he would like to encourage everyone to register to vote so they feel like they have a say and that their vote matters.
“I’m not really a politician,” Mellon said.
“I’m not scared of the work and working for a change,” he added. “It’s important. I’m going to try to do something.”
Mellon will face off against Republican Peggy McGaugh in the primary election to be held August 7, 2018.