Power Profile: Senator Ryan Silvey,
A Key Player in Missouri’s Economic Future
Senator Ryan Silvey (R-17, Kansas City) wanted to work in the public policy arena since high school. He didn’t know then that he would become an influential Missouri State Senator, working to balance the state budget and ensure the state’s resources are spent as effectively as possible.
“I became interested in public policy through high school and college debate. In academic debate you are given a problem to solve and you have to present a solution and convince the judge that you are right. Conversely, if you are on the other side, you have to convince the judge that the other team’s solution is wrong,” Silvey said. “It is a simplified version of the political arena. I knew that if I wanted to affect public policy for real, I would have to get involved in the political arena.”
Silvey has had a long history working in the political arena. He began his career straight out of college working in Washington for U.S. Senator Christopher “Kit” Bond as a member of his legislative staff.
“Ryan was fast to rise up in my office and it has been an indication of how I thought of him at the time and how I still do,” former Senator Bond said in a recent interview. “I think when Ryan gets involved in any issue he goes into it and learns it in great detail. That’s what makes him so effective.”
Armed with experience and passion, he moved back home to the Northland in Kansas City where he became involved in the community. His opportunity to serve the people of Kansas City through representation in the political arena came sooner than he expected when he was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 2005 at the age of 28.
Prior to his election to the Senate, Silvey served as the chairman of the House Budget Committee during his career as a Missouri Representative. In the Senate, he is the chairman of the Commerce Committee and vice chairman of the Appropriations Committee. He has used his time in the legislature working to understand the budget process as fully as possible so that he can not only influence how Missouri spends its money, but also answer questions for his constituents about how the government is using their tax dollars.
“When I first ran for office, I was struck by how many people have no idea how their tax dollars are spent. It’s not that they aren’t interested in it, but that it’s a highly technical process and information is not easy to obtain and digest,” Silvey said. “I made it my goal then that I would use my time in the legislature to understand the state budget inside and out. Now, in addition to influencing what the state spends money on, I can answer those questions back home about what the government is doing with their money.”
Along with being passionate about the economic climate of Missouri, Silvey is also an advocate for the cybersecurity of Missouri’s electrical grid. He is a strong believer in the possibilities of incorporating technology and raising consumer experiences, but realizes this could come with a risk.
“As we see more integration of technology we have also seen an increase in cybersecurity breeches and that threat in the energy sector is very concerning,” Silvey said. “Often we hear about breeches as they relate to personal information in retail, but the concept of having an entire energy network corrupted is really scary not only from a security standpoint, but the vulnerability it creates on customers in peak season like the summer and winter.”
Collaborating with a broad range of energy stakeholders, Silvey is working to ensure updating our electrical grid occurs as timely as possible. By sponsoring legislation like SB 1028, The 21st Century Grid Modernization Act, Senator Silvey is ensuring Missouri provides enhanced security for its residents, and his valued constituents.
During his time “off-duty,” Silvey enjoys being a family man. He likes to watch his children play sports, and is a fan of the Kansas City Royals and Chiefs. He also plays the guitar in his church band on Sundays (an interesting fact -- he taught himself to play by ear).
Senator Silvey thoroughly enjoys serving the people of his district and looks forward to his remaining time in the legislature. He notes: “Getting results for the people you serve is definitely the most rewarding aspect of the job.”