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Missouri House of Representatives

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT: Rep. Bruce Franks, Jr.


May 16, 2019 573-751-2383

Statement from Rep. Bruce Franks, Jr.


Regarding his Decision to Pursue Other Opportunities

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – State Rep. Bruce Franks, Jr., D-St. Louis, issued the following letter
regarding his decision to make this his last session in the Missouri House of Representatives:

“It is with sadness that I announce this will be my last session in the Missouri House of
Representatives. This was a difficult decision that I have made for the sake of my health, particularly
mental.

The past three years have been both incredibly rewarding, and unexpectedly depleting. From winning
an election that nobody thought I could win to being a young Black man from an economically
distressed community sitting here in this legislative body, this has been an essential step for me and for
the people I represent, who too rarely see someone who looks like them serving in government.
However, I would be lying if I didn’t also acknowledge the enormous toll the past three years have
taken on my physical health and my mental health. This past year has been marked by deep personal
trauma, from the loss of my best friend and godson to gun violence to the strain that comes from trying
to support a family on the salary of an elected official with no financial safety net. I’ve fought many
battles, but none greater than my ongoing struggle with anxiety and depression. This year, for the first
time in my life, I decided to get help. After much reflection, I decided to prioritize my health and my
family above my political ambition.

Further, the changing dynamics in the legislative body made it clear that there is little room for the
kind of bipartisanship that allowed me to effect meaningful change for my constituents in the past three
years. Time is our most valuable resource, and my community doesn’t have the privilege to wait for
change.

I am incredibly proud of some of the work that my colleagues and I have been able to accomplish these
past three years. Passing HCR-70, which declared youth violence a public health epidemic, putting
millions of dollars into the budget for youth jobs and creating a Veterans’ Bill of Rights are just some
of the highlights. I am just as proud of my communities and those across Missouri that took matters in
their own hands and engaged civically to put help pass bills and create laws that benefit people, not
parties or politicians.
There will be those who will frame my decision as selfish or rash, or who will want to try to reframe
this story from what it should be about – my decision to take care of my mental health and to share my
story so that it can help others to do the same. Those who know me, know that I am a person who
doesn’t let his pride overpower his judgment. Real leadership means doing what’s necessary to be the
most effective you can be. I will continue to do the work of the people, no longer as an elected official,
but as an advocate for social justice, as a disruptor to the status quo and as a champion of change. I’m a
soldier, and soldiers belong on the battlefield. My battlefields are communities that are still fighting for
Black lives, racial equity, voting rights, criminal justice reform, gender equality, public education,
LGBTQ rights, and livable wages. So, while I am resigning my title and seat in this body, I am not
resigning my role as a leader for my community — instead, just redesigning it to be the most effective
I can be. So that includes taking care of my mental health and advocating that others in my community
do the same.

Thank you to my constituents for the privilege of serving you. I will continue to fight on your behalf.
Thank you to the members of the House of Representatives. I have made many friends here both
Democrat and Republican, whom I will hold dear for life. I have also made foes here — both
Democrat and Republican. I will continue to show up, knock on your doors and hold you accountable.
Above all, thank you to my kids for keeping me grounded and forcing me to think about how I can be
the best version of myself.

Onwards,

Bruce Franks Jr.”

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