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story.lead_photo.caption Dave Griffith talks with a supporter while meeting with his strategists recently in a downtown Jefferson City office. Photo by Julie Smith / News Tribune.

If elected to serve the 60th District in the Missouri House of Representatives, Republican candidate Dave Griffith said, he'd be a public servant who is approachable.

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"This really is a full-time job. Even when you're not in session, you still have to respond to the needs of your constituents, be in the district, be a visible part of the community and be a visible part of what they're doing," Griffith said.

He and his Democratic opponent, Sara Michael, are squaring off to see who will replace state Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City.

Voters will decide between them in the Nov. 6 general election.

Barnes is completing his fourth term in the office. He served on numerous committees and most recently chaired the House committee that looked into former Gov. Eric Greitens' legal troubles. Barnes first won his seat in 2010, a year in which the Republicans shot toward a supermajority. He entered the House in a year when Republicans had more victories than ever before.

Griffith, a veteran, is retired, but previously worked in the home mortgage and insurance businesses and in communications. He spent two stints with KRCG. He served as a twice-elected 5th Ward councilman in Jefferson City. He then moved on to be the executive director of the American Red Cross of Central and Northern Missouri.

Griffith and his wife, Leigh, have two children.

Griffith said he began thinking about running for the House about eight years ago, but other candidates were already lined up to run.

"I was told by some friends that the timing was probably not right then," he said. "They recommended that I run for the City Council seat in the 5th Ward."

He was unopposed that year until 15 minutes before the filing deadline.

"That turned out to be a really good thing. It taught me to be a good candidate. It taught me how to knock on doors," Griffith said. "It gave me a pretty good idea of what it was like to campaign."

He used his campaigning skills to overcome challenges from two other first-time candidates for the House of Representatives during the August primary election.

Griffith said the City Council campaign also helped him learn to listen to what voters' concerns are and to respond to their issues.

"One thing I told people when I was on the City Council was," he said, "I may not always vote the way that you wanted me to, but I will always be able to tell you the reasons I voted the way I did."

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