Tim Taylor wants to go from the heat of the bread oven to the fire of the statehouse.

The Boonville bakery owner announced his candidacy to represent the 48th Missouri House District at an event Tuesday evening across the street from Taylor’s Bake Shop.

“After months of deliberation, many in-depth family discussions, encouragement from family and friends, and prayers for guidance, I decided to officially declare I am seeking the position of representative of the 48th District,” Taylor said to applause from a small crowd of friends and patrons.

The conservative political newcomer joins Cooper County Commissioner Don Baragary in a Republican primary race for the seat of term-limited Rep. Dave Muntzel, R-Boonville. Filing opens Feb. 25 for local, state and federal races on the Aug. 4 primary ballot.

Taylor called himself a limited-government Reaganite seeking to promote the interests of the state’s small businesses. He said he is also interested in helping bridge the gap between political factions to serve as a voice for cooperation in the capital.

“I’m going to spend a lot of time learning what the issues are for the people in this district,” he said. “I am a Republican, I am a conservative, and I like the way the state is going.”

Taylor said he respects Baragary and doesn’t differ much from him politically. But he said he thinks he can work better with people from differing perspectives, citing his work as the Cooper County Youth Fair Board president and vice chair of the Cooper County Extension Council.

“I want to bring people to a common ground, that’s what I think I can do [in the House],” he said. “Everyone needs to have a voice.”

Bargary voiced mutual respect for Taylor and said he looks forward to a good race.

Baragary said his experience on the Cooper County Commission will help make him an effective legislator, and he hopes to support improvements the state’s transportation infrastructure.

“I think definitely my experience as being presiding commissioner of Cooper County in my six years on the commission gives me a little bit of insight to take to Jefferson City on what local governments actually need,” Baragary said.

Taylor sees state politics as an opportunity to continue working for his community after serving as a firefighter in Boonville and Columbia. He lives on a farm north of Bunceton and raises a small herd of cattle.

The 48th District covers most of Cooper and Howard counties, including Boonville and Fayette, and mostly rural parts of Randolph, Chariton, Saline and Pettis counties.

Taylor is a 1984 Boonville High School graduate who served in the Air Force security forces in Italy and Nevada during the Gulf War. He returned to Cooper County and worked in remodeling and construction while volunteering for the Boonville Fire Department — where his father once served as assistant chief — until he was hired by the Columbia Fire Department. He retired from the department as a captain in April.

Taylor was joined Tuesday by his wife and business partner, Dawn Taylor. He also introduced Matt Hudson as his campaign treasurer and Brenda Harriaman as deputy treasurer, both of whom previously worked with Taylor at the Columbia Fire Department.

“I’ve known [Taylor] for a long time,” Hudson said. “Twenty years of fighting fires and going to car wrecks together, you get to know somebody really well, and I really think he will do a fantastic job, so I didn’t hesitate to jump into [the campaign].”

Baking is also a family tradition in the Taylor family. As a child, Taylor’s family worked in his grandparents bakery in Mexico.

“When I was a little infant, the story is they put me in a cardboard box and slid me under the table while they were working,” he said.

Taylor and his wife opened their own bakery in Boonville in 2002, where they raised their son, Carter, now age 14. Members of the community helped get the bakery off the ground as they raised a child. Taylor said a seat in the House would allow him to give back to those who supported them.

“I just feel like I need to pay back something to my community,” he said. “Everybody in here has had a part in our lives along with a thousand people who aren’t here tonight. Now that I’m retired I still feel like I want to [serve], but I’m too old to be a volunteer firefighter anymore.”