A municipal law practice of 20-plus years paved the way for Andrea Bough to take the leap and run for elected office, winning a City Council seat in Kansas City in 2019.
As a self-professed introvert, it was policymaking, not politicking, that drew the long-time Jackson County Democrat to the job — a commitment that became important enough (and sufficiently time-consuming) for Bough to step down from her position at Lewis Rice to work on city issues full-time.
It’s not quite an unexpected evolution for Bough, who grew up in the southeast Missouri bootheel town of East Prairie, the daughter of a school teacher father and a mom who worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“The pull toward municipal government has always been there,” said Bough, a University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law graduate whose legal career began as a law clerk for the City of Overland Park, Kansas, while still attending UMKC.
She spent three stints at Lewis Rice, starting an associate in 2001 before leaving in 2008 for a two-year detour as a small-business owner of a boutique wine store. Bough returned to her legal practice in 2011, spending three years with Stinson in Kansas City before returning to Lewis Rice in 2014.
Prior to settling in greater Kansas City, Bough earned an undergraduate degree in political science from what is now Missouri State University in Springfield, where she met fellow law student Stephen Bough, now her husband of nearly 30 years and a U.S District Court judge for the western district of Missouri.
On the City Council, Bough was the key force behind Kansas City’s adoption of a landmark Tenant Right to Counsel ordinance that guarantees free legal assistance for renters facing eviction. Kansas City joins a dozen or so other cities nationwide to create such local laws during the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic.
“In sponsoring the ordinance, she maintained open and transparent dialogue with all stakeholders, stood strongly for the most robust and effective policy, and shuttled the ordinance through the Council with grace and skill,” wrote Gina Chiala, executive director of the Heartland Center for Jobs and Freedom, in nominating Bough for this award.
“As a result, Kansas City joined 12 other cities that guarantee tenants the right to an attorney – and our ordinance is among the strongest on the books, thanks in large parts to Councilwoman Bough’s dedication to the working and poor people of Kansas City.”
Jane Pansing Brown, the city of Kansas City’s general counsel, added that Bough is a “true public servant, exemplifying someone who puts the needs of those she serves above her own.”
Her community involvement includes serving on the board of the local chapter of the Missouri Eating Disorder Association and previous service as a board member for the Jackson County Mental Health Fund Board.
Bough and her husband, who live in Brookside, are parents to Ashley, 23, a University of Georgia graduate who lives in Atlanta; and Grant, a high school senior and baseball player headed in the fall to the University of Oregon.