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The Race to Jeff City: Missouri House Seat 139

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The Missouri Captiol building in Jefferson City. (Photo credit: jacob_shane via Flickr)

The towns of Nixa, Clever, Highlandville, and other communities in Western Christian County are part of Missouri House District 139.

And this year, Democrat Cora Hanf is running against  the Republican incumbent, Jered Taylor, who has been in office for four years.

Jered Taylor, Republican incumbent

Taylor says a top priority for him in the district is creative an environment that’s friendly to small, local businesses—without too much government regulation.

"A lot of people are small-business owners in Nixa. A lot of people travel from Nixa, Clever, Highlandville and they go to Springfield. They are bedroom communities to Springfield, in order to work," Taylor said.

He said what he thinks is best for constituents in his area is helping make sure they have a good, quality job, and that involves making sure business owners can operate freely.

And he says he wants to develop the workforce; that includes helping businesses find workers who have the skills needed.

On the statewide level, he says government needs to be streamlined.

"Again, I would say it's just trying to reduce some of those regulations. Trying to reduce the ways that government likes to get involved when they don't need to be," Taylor said.

Earlier this year, he sponsored a bill that caught the attention of several state colleges and universities:  his bill, H.B. 1936, would have allowed Conceal and Carry permit holders to take their weapons on state campuses—including students—and it would have banned state institutions of higher education from stopping them. 

OTC, MSU, and other schools spoke out and testified against the bill, which ultimately failed.

For Taylor, that was a safety issue, and also a Second Amendment issue; local colleges and institutions felt it was government overreach.

Before becoming a state rep, Taylor worked in Congressman Billy Long’s office as a field staffer, working between constituents and federal agencies, like the IRS or the Army Corps of Engineers, to solve problems in the district.

He worked in retail management.

In the Missouri statehouse, Jered Taylor has served on the budget, general laws, conservation, and government oversight committees.

Democratic candidate Cora Hanf

Taylor's opponent is Democrat Cora Hanf, a claims adjuster for a local insurance company.

Hanf worked on the March for Homelessness Awareness, and she’s helped coordinate meals with Gathering Friends and the GLO Center, a LGBTQ resource center in Springfield.   She says volunteering around hunger-related issues has given her an intimate look at how the more vulnerable people in our community live.

And she’s a native of the area.

"I know people who live here who have lived here for a long time. I went to their schools. They taught me. I'm familiar with these people, and what's important to them, and how they think, and what their needs are," Hanf said.

She said she's running for office to give residents in her district more of a choice in candidates.

"Because the person who currently holds the seat ran unopposed, I feel like he barrelled through on some legislation that was just bad legislation--as well as supported legislation that he would not have supported, had he known that he was going to face an election," Hanf said.

On a statewide level, she says she wants a return to bipartisanship, and says Taylor is "deeply, deeply partisan."

"And he has, I think, a hyper-focus on extreme partisan issues.  And I think that we have an opportunity to pull our focus away from those extreme partisan issues that don't always affect people's everyday lives, and focus back on things like health care, education," Hanf said.

Again, Missouri house District 139 is set in western Christian County, and it includes Nixa, Clever, Highlandville, and other small towns.   Representative Jered Taylor is running to stay in office, and hoping to beat challenger, Democrat Cora Hanf.

You can click here for a district map.

And the National Institute on Money in Politics, which compiles public campaign fundraising records, has its “Ask Anything”  search function here that allows you to search for donations to candidates by name, year, and area.