Walter Dearing, Candidate For Mo. Dist. 150 Representative
Walter Dearing feels pretty good about his chances for being elected Mo. Dist. 150 Representative.
Born in Kennett, Dearing was reared on a Dunklin County farm, where he “chopped cotton, picked cotton, pitched watermelons” and decided to pursue a career as a public servant.
“I decided to go into law enforcement,” he told SEMO TIMES. “I was a cop for 41 years.”
He began his career at the Poplar Bluff Police Department in 1973, where he earned $375 a month. Dearing served in Dunklin County’s law enforcement community beginning four years later, and spent 29 years as an investigator for the prosecuting attorney’s office.
These days, Dearing manages the Missouri Community Services office at Kennett.
“I’ve been in public service my whole life,” Dearing said. “I feel like I’ve proven myself.
“I think I have the trust of the citizens,” he added. “I would properly represent them in Jefferson City. I’m not a politician. I’m one of us, a citizen of Dunklin County.”
Dearing was commander of the Dunklin County Major Case Squad for 13 years, a leadership position he never took lightly. Now, he said that leadership would serve well the people of his district.
“People ask me, ‘What would you be able to do in Jefferson City?'” he said. “Well, change starts with one person, and that’s me.”
The No. 1 issue Dearing wants to address as a state representative is jobs, he said.
“We need to retain the jobs we have,” Dearing said. “Look at Noranda, and the hospital in Hayti.
“We’re in danger of both those places closing,” he continued. “That’s about 1,100 jobs. That’s about 1,100 families without incomes. We need to stabilize our job market and try to add to it. These are not pie-in-the-sky things. These are some priorities we can work together to achieve.”
In addition, Dearing said four-laning the 17-mile stretch of Missouri 412 between Kennett and Arkansas is necessary for advancing commerce.
“The Arkansas side is done.” he said. “Ours isn’t.
“This is the shortest route for big truck traffic between St. Louis and Little Rock,” the candidate said. “It’s one of the easiest paving jobs the state will ever have. Finishing that highway might attract truck stops and other businesses. That means jobs for this area.”
Also, Dearing noted the need for attention to quality of life issues in the area, and echoed the late state Rep. Otto Bean’s cry to fund fully public schools.
“The money is there to fund the public schools,” he said. “We don’t do it, and I don’t know why.
“We must come to some compromise,” Dearing noted. “This two-party system is broken. It’s not going anywhere the way it is. We can do it. We don’t, and the people suffer because of it. It’s a party problem that becomes a people problem. That’s not the way government is supposed to work. It makes no sense.”
But what really gets Dearing fired up is the notion of hungry children.
“The school lunch program should be fully funded,” he said. “We can’t keep them from coming to school hungry.
“But we can darn well see they don’t go home that way,” Dearing added. “If we can buy their books and teach them we can feed them, too.”
Dearing is endorsed by the Missouri State Teachers Association; The Fraternal Order of Police; the Missouri Federation of Teachers; and state and local COPE.
Walter Dearing is married to Susan, who he married in 1979.