360 Politics: Holts Summit city administrator agrees with Trump immigration stance
HOLTS SUMMIT - Rick Hess, Holts Summit City Administrator, is a registered republican and voted for President Donald Trump. “I just want you to know that my opinions are just my opinions and I’m not speaking for the city,” Hess said.
Hess is in a hired and not an elected position for the city of Holts Summit.
Watch the 360 video on mobile or desktop below to hear Hess' story. Please be patient as it may take a few moments to load.
He said he was most excited for Trump's promise to stand up to foreign leaders and his idea for a wall to assist in stopping illegal immigration.
"We’ve got to get a handle on the illegal aliens that are here," Hess said. "A country that does not have borders will lose its sovereignty and is no longer a country. It’s just a big chunk of land that is ungovernable.”
Hess said he doesn't know about any undocumented immigrants who reside in Holts Summit. But his approach to undocumented immigrants is different from the president he voted for.
Hess said if Holts Summit did have illegal immigrants then, "I wouldn’t do anything about them."
That's not Trump's agenda; however, Hess is still passionate toward the idea of not allowing illegal immigrants in the United States. "I just think we’ve got to get a handle on this."
Hess said he doesn't have the same feelings toward documented immigrants. "I’ve got no problem with legal immigrants, people who come here, they’ve gone through the process, they’ve spent the time, the money, the effort, to get here because they want to be here and they’re not here sponging off the country,” Hess said.
Hess often makes ordinances for the city, but says he does not model anything after his own Republican views.
"I try to separate out my personal feelings from the way I craft an ordinance. The way I look at it, first things first, is to make sure that it is constitutional," Hess said.
However, he has not always been a Republican.
"At one point I was at the opposite end of the spectrum, back in my early 20's, back when I was in the service, railing against Nixon and everything he stood for." Hess said as time went by, he started working for a living and "everything evolved." Hess said, "When you start paying taxes, when you get a job and you find out how the real things work if you're out in the actual workforce, a lot of times, you’ll kind of morph as time goes on."
But Hess said he appreciates when someone with opposing views can have a civil conversation with him.
"I’ve gone away from a lot of different conversations saying, 'thanks for your point of view, and thanks for listening to mine,'" Hess said. "We may not agree, but as long as we can agree to disagree and do it in a rational, agreeable fashion, then we can have a conversation instead of a shouting match with each other."
"Am I a diehard?" Hess said. "I say I'm relatively conservative. But I’m not some rabid, drooling individual who can’t sit down with someone that has the opposite political opinion and have a good conversation with them."
Editor's note: This story is part of a series, 360 Politics, profiling mid-Missourians of different backgrounds and political viewpoints.