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Area legislators call on Republican candidate to drop out

By Mike Genet

A bipartisan group of Missouri lawmakers, several of whom represent Eastern Jackson County, has called for Missouri House Representative candidate Richard Roeber of Lee’s Summit to withdraw from the Nov. 3 elections due to published allegations of physical and sexual child abuse made last month by two of his adult children.

Roeber is the Republican candidate for the 34th District, the seat formerly held by his late second wife Rebecca Roeber. She died in July 2019 shortly after she returned home while recovering from a serious automobile accident on the way to Jefferson City.

The district includes the southeast corner of Lee’s Summit, generally south of Colbern Road, as well as Greenwood. 

The lawmakers signed a letter released from the office of 35th District Rep. Keri Ingle, D-Lee’s Summit.

The letter reads: 

“We the members of the Missouri General Assembly take any allegation of child abuse very seriously. Abuse of any kind is never acceptable and will be met by a zero-tolerance policy by the Legislature.”

“We believe in forgiveness and the ability of individuals to change, but the honor of serving in the People’s House is a privilege that certain acts preclude.”

“In light of the serious allegations we call on Rick Roeber to withdraw candidacy of State Representative of House District 34.”

Those who signed include Sen. John Rizzo, D-Kansas City, whose 11th District includes nearly all of Independence. Area representatives who signed, besides Ingle, include Republican Bill Kidd (20th District) from Buckner, and Democrats Rory Rowland (29th) and Robert Sauls (21st) from Independence, Ingrid Burnett (19th) from Kansas City and Jerome Barnes (28th) from Raytown. Sheila Solon, R-St. Joseph, who formerly represented the 31st District that includes much of Blue Springs, also signed the letter.

In all, four Republicans and 13 Democrats signed the letter.

Chris Hager is the Democratic candidate in the 34th District race.

Ingle said all Jackson County state representatives and senators were asked to sign the letter. 

The Missouri Democratic Party has issued a statement calling for House Republicans and the Missouri Republican Party “denounce Rick Roeber and refuse to seat him if he is elected in November.”

In a Facebook post made shortly after the allegations were published, Roeber said the allegations first surfaced after a “bitter” divorce decades earlier.

“In 2003, the Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect Review Board concluded that all accusations were without merit and I was completely exonerated,” he wrote. “Now, these same allegations are being brought up, just one month prior to my election. The desperation of Democrats and the Main Stream Media to discredit my campaign is deplorable and indefensible.”