Robb stresses education in House race
He doesn't to give up his political life as he campaigns for his third term.
Oct. 17, 2008
Ed Robb does not plan to give up his seat in the House of Representatives any time soon.
Robb, R-Columbia, is the incumbent running for his third term in the 24th District House seat.
Following retirement in 2002, Robb continued to work for his own business as a statistical and financial consultant.
He also passed the time by reading. Robb has read the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy six times and said because of all the technical reading he does, he prefers more exciting reading in his spare time.
But in 2004, some local business groups and legislators suggested he run for the state legislature.
After discussing the matter with his wife, Rosa, the suggestion became more of a reality.
"My wife said, 'I'm tired of you around the house,'" Robb said. "You need to get out and do something."
Robb and Rosa have been married for 12 years, and Robb said she is like a secret weapon.
"She's a lot more political than I am," Robb said. "She's a fanatic."
Robb's wife is president of the Boone County chapter of the Federation of Republican Women.
"They may be grooming her to take my place if I ever lose," Robb said with a chuckle.
Although his political career might be young, Robb's first election was more than 40 years ago. Robb ran for high school president, but that was one race he did not win.
"My ex-girlfriend from eighth grade, Sandy, beat me," he said. "I lost by one vote."
Robb won the 2004 election, and then won re-election in 2006, which was the most expensive race in state history.
Only when he ran for office did people find out Robb was a Republican.
"I was a nonpartisan researcher for the legislature," Robb said. "The Republicans thought I was a Republican, and the Democrats thought I was a Democrat."
Grossmann Promotional Products owner Larry Grossmann has known Robb for a long time - their children attended daycare together.
"He's a professor," Grossmann said of Robb. "He's not a politician. Sometimes that's good. Sometimes he just tells it as it is without the politician polish."
Robb was an MU economics professor from 1972 to 2002. He began teaching while obtaining his graduate degree in the '60s from Michigan State University.
Robb said education is his top priority.
"In terms of expenditure programs, it's absolutely No. 1," Robb said. "That includes graduate, undergraduate, K-12, all of it."
Missouri higher education has benefited from Robb's experience both in education and economics, Grossmann said.
During Robb's time in the House, Grossmann said, the General Assembly added more than $75 million for higher education scholarship programs.
"He is by far the most respected economist over there," Grossmann said. "I think that both parties come to him for budget advice."
Grossmann said he supports Robb because he looks out for education and business. He also believes Robb's support of Columbia will not wane in the near future.
"I sincerely believe that Ed will continue to improve the community," Grossmann said. "He's got position, knowledge and respect of both parties."
Grossmann doesn't think the House can afford to lose Robb.
"We would be crazy to take a person from the party in power and replace him with someone without power and leadership role in these critical times," Grossmann said.