Representing the People of Rural America
Legislation and Family Values
OUTdrive Episode 48 with Brad Pollitt
In this episode of OUTdrive, Cliff visits with Missouri State Representative Brad Pollitt about legislation and family values in rural America. Brad represents district 52, which includes parts of Johnson and Pettis counties. As a long-time resident of Missouri, he understands the needs of the communities and individuals he represents and leads with their best interests in mind.
In addition to his role as representative, Brad is the owner and operator of Rocher P. Cattle Company and can be found on the farm when he’s not busy working at the Capitol in Jefferson City. Before his current role, he was an educator and administrator for 34 years and served in roles including teacher, coach, principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent throughout the Sedalia 200 school district. Today he continues his passion for serving others by advocating for legislation that will enable rural communities to succeed.
Keep reading to learn more as Cliff and Brad discuss what it’s like to represent the people of rural America, current legislation, family values and rural economic development and education. We also share some life lessons from rural America, including a strong work ethic and effective leadership strategies.
Rural American Priorities
As a state representative, farmer and rural American himself, Brad advocates for legislation that enables rural communities to succeed. One of the most important areas to him and the district he represents is agriculture, and he has been appointed chair of the Missouri House of Representatives Rural Community Development committee.
“That committee basically hears agricultural legislation that goes through the committee,” says Brad. “Each bill has to be assigned to a committee and it has to be voted out of committee before it can go to the House floor, so we spend a lot of time on agriculture questions and issues.”
As a former educator and administrator for 34 years, Brad is also passionate about providing quality education to Missouri students. He leverages his experience to advocate for legislation that he believes will provide a strong future for current and future students.
Brad is a long-time Missouri resident and is passionate about improving his home state for years to come. He represents his fellow community members and leads with their best interests at heart. His integrity and strong work ethic never stop, whether it is during a committee meeting or caring for his cattle on his farm.
Life Lessons from Rural America
As society changes, so do values and family dynamics. Brad credits his parents for instilling strong values in him when he was a child and continued the same values in his children.
“They say you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family,” says Brad. “My mom taught me what it was like to be a good person and to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. My dad taught me how to have a work ethic. I can remember him saying that, ‘Nobody owes you anything, and if you ever want to amount to anything in life, then you need to work harder and longer than the other people that are doing it if you want to be the best. And don’t expect anybody to give you anything.’ So that’s how I was raised.”
The strong ethic Brad developed on the family farm continued into other areas of his life, including sports and school work. Throughout the years, Brad had many coaches, but he remembers one specific coach pushing him to reach his full potential. The impact the coach had on Brad inspired him to pursue a career in education and become a coach himself.
Brad began his career in education as a teacher, but knew he wanted to be an administrator. With this in mind, he began advancing one step at a time and gained experience to be a knowledgeable and compassionate leader later on.
“I tried to build my career one step at a time, from a classroom teacher, to assistant principal, to a principal, to an assistant superintendent, then superintendent,” says Brad. “I tried to see all areas of the public school system. And I did that with a plan that if I did become superintendent, I would know what every individual in my organization did for their job. And that way, I would know what they were doing, and not to tell them how to do it, but that I would know, when they were having an issue, what their issue was, and I could relate to that a little better.”
Whether it is education or marketing, having a strong understanding of what every member of your team does is vital to being an effective leader. It enables you to connect with and support other members of your team and fosters a strong work environment. However, a strong team also starts with hiring the best people possible to grow the organization together.
“I hired the best people and always hired the best person available,” says Brad. “I believe that if you hire the right people, and you let them do their job and don’t try to micromanage them, and then more so than pay, if you show them you appreciate them and you’re genuine in your appreciation, they’ll work their tails off for you. I found in my career that I had people that worked so hard for me and for our district to make our school district successful. I’m so proud of them and I’m so appreciative of their efforts.”
Today, Brad is representing rural Missourians with the experiences he shares with them, just as he led his team during his career in education. Whether it is working to pass a new education bill or visiting with community members and former students, Brad is representing the people of rural America every day.
Learn more about leading with family values and life in rural America from Cliff and Brad in this episode of OUTdrive.