Missouri Rep. Brian Yates announced Wednesday that he will step down as the 56th District legislator effective at the end of this month, citing his last year of House eligibility and a young family as his top priority.

Missouri Rep. Brian Yates announced Wednesday that he will step down as the 56th District legislator effective at the end of this month, citing his last year of House eligibility and a young family as his top priority.

Yates is leaving the office with one year left on his term. A special election will be held in February to determine who will fill the remaining nine months on the term.

Yates said he also will not run for the 8th District Missouri Senate seat – as had been widely speculated –  that will become open in 2010 when state Sen. Matt Bartle is term limited.

State Rep. Bryan Pratt of Blue Springs has announced his intention to run for that seat, but Yates said he supports a conservative candidate from Lee’s Summit who plans to announce candidacy Monday for the Senate seat. Yates would not disclose the person’s name.

Yates, 34, is leaving the House just one session shy of eight years. A Republican, Yates’ district includes parts of southern Blue Springs, Grain Valley and Oak Grove, as well as eastern Lee’s Summit.

A full-time attorney who left his law firm about a month ago, Yates said in an interview Wednesday that he is pursing a new career in Kansas City. He is married with an 18-month-old son.

“It’s going to be nice to be home,” Yates said. “I honestly have really realized my priorities in life, and family is more important to me than politics. I’m ready for someone else to take the lead.”

Yates is among several Eastern Jackson County state legislators who face term limits in 2010, including Bartle and Pratt and other state representatives Curt Dougherty, Ray Salva and Gary Dusenberg.

“Term limits are going to force a large group out of the House next year,” Yates said.” Major turnover is looming for the House again next year, and I feel for our area that it might be advantageous for a new member to get a start on that new class.”

The political party committees will each nominate a candidate for the ballot for the special election in the 56th District in February.

Yates said Mike Cierpiot, a Republican Lee’s Summit resident who has announced his candidacy for the 56th District, will likely get the nod from Republicans, though nothing is official yet. Yates said getting his successor an extra nine months in office will give him an advantage once many new legislators are chosen in November.

Yates said he might return to politics someday after his children are grown.

“I think it’s very difficult for members who have to travel down to Jefferson City to have young children at home. You miss out on so much, and I think that’s why the Legislature primarily has members with grown children or young legislators with no children.”

About Brian Yates

Elected to Missouri House of Representatives in 2002 Was re-elected in 2004, 2006 and 2008 Served on Insurance Policy and Judiciary committees, as well as special committees on urban issues, tourism and legislative research Longtime proponent of ethics reform and fiscal responsibility