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Missouri House District 138: Republican Tom Franiak

Coutesy of Tom Franiak

Tom Franiak is running for Missouri House District 138 against Republican Burt Whaley. There is no Democrat in the 138th race.

Tell us about yourself and why you feel you're a good candidate for the Missouri House of Representatives.

“Well, I am a, I've been a businessman for over 40 years. In those 40 years of time, I've had to do a lot of conflict resolution with clients and staff, or staff and staff. Also, I have had to write a lot of contracts, and contracts, you know, a good deal is when buyer and seller are both happy. So, a contract isn't to weight anything to one side or the other, it's to make sure that both parties are happy with the agreement that you set forth. It's those experiences that I want to take to Jeff City, because I do see a need for unity within our government. And it's not just unity between the Republican Party and the Democrat Party, but it's also unity between the parties and the people you're working for. We need to realize that although I'm running for the 138th State Representative District, my votes and the things that I do affect the entire state. So, we have to look at the whole state as a total.”

What issues are most important to you and why?

“The issue that's most important to me is I see that we need to make our sheriffs constitutional. Right now, our sheriffs are chartered through statute, not constitution. And if any party would decide that they would like to defund our sheriff or remove the sheriff's office, they could do that through simple statute vote. And I think, or I know, that the sheriff is our last line of defense to secure our liberty. So, should the federal government come and want to violate our First or Second Amendment rights, it's the sheriff that we look to to stand in between us and the federal government. I also think that we need to secure Missouri itself from the federal government. People need to realize that the states form the federal government, not the other way around. The states are supreme, and we need to remind our government who runs the government. It is we the people. And as a state representative, I, my job, my number one job, would be to secure the liberties of the people who live in the state of which I'm representing.”

Why did you decide to run for office?

“I decided to run for office because, as a businessman, as we went through COVID, I saw our government shutting down businesses. They violated our First Amendment rights and not allowing us to assemble. They violated our First Amendment rights by not allowing us to practice our religions. And then, of course, they closed businesses. And our laws are such that, when the government closes business, they need to compensate us for our losses. I was going through cancer treatment at that time, too, and my wife, who works at Mercy Hospital, was forced to take an injection she didn't want to take in order to keep her job. And I was forced to take that injection so that I can get a lifesaving surgery. That's not the America that we grew up in, and to me, that was tyranny. I want to be able to stand in the breach should something like that ever happen again. Now, I'm certainly for if somebody wanted to take the injection or they want to wear a mask and they want to do that freely, that's fine. But those that didn't want to, they also had the right not to. You know, I forget who said the quote, but it is ‘he who gives up liberty for security deserves neither.’ And that's very dear to my heart.”

What do you think makes your district unique, and how would you represent that in Jefferson City?

 “My district is very unique in that it is, Stone County is one of the poorest counties in the State of Missouri and is also has one of the highest percentages of senior citizens living there. Now, the county north to south is divided with the lake and the southern half and tourism and entertainment being big down there, their needs are to grow that economic base where in the north of Stone County it's more agricultural and farming. So, you almost have two different communities within one county. And then people tend to forget that the 138th is not only Stone County, but it's it is a bi-county district. It moves over into Christian County, just below Ozark and Nixa from east to west, and their needs are different as well. They live just outside the Mark Twain Forest, and the counties themselves, the people are very, they live at a lower economic status than standard than most of Missouri. And we need to make sure that their roads, because their tax bases are smaller, we need to make sure that their roads are well maintained and that they have the same type of lifestyle that we have throughout the rest of the state as far as the services that the state will give to the other counties.”

Running for office is a state lawmaker opens you up to a lot of scrutiny and criticism. Do you feel that the personal cost for you and your family are worth it and why?

“I do believe that the personal cost is worth it. As I stated earlier, I own my own business. I own Midwest Cabinets and Design in Ozark, Missouri. And in order to even think about running for state representative, I've had to put three extra people into my business to do what I will vacate, when I am in Jefferson City. We are a government of we the people, and it is by the people.’ And the people need to run for office to run their government. Otherwise, we get people that we don't like. So, although I think it's a big job, it's an important job. And I think my business skills is really what our area needs in order to have the kind of government that they want.”

How productive do you think the Missouri legislative sessions have been in recent years, and what would improve the legislature's productivity and effectiveness?

“I hear a lot of a lot of grumblings that the legislative sessions haven't been productive. And again, I think is what will help that along is if — we have a lot of minor differences. I don't think we're as far apart as people would have us believe. I think unfortunately, I'm on radio, but the media has us almost diametrically opposed to each other. But when I actually go and talk to the to the citizens of the community, I find that we have a lot more in common than we don't have in common. And I think is what I can bring to is my conflict resolution and be able to persuade people to a common ground so that we can get the important tasks done.”

What's something you'd like to share with voters that most people don't know about you?

“I would like to share with the voters that I am a stage four cancer survivor. When I went through that journey, I realized that no average U.S. citizen can afford to have cancer. The treatments to cure somebody are extremely expensive, and we need to find a way to make sure that those that are struck with devastating illnesses like that do get the proper care, no matter what their economic status is, make sure that they have good insurance to help pay for it. I was fortunate that I was on some trials and some grants to help pay for my treatments, but we need to make sure that that kind of health care and access is available to all who get struck with those types of things. And it was through no fault of my own that I got that disease, but I am eternally grateful for those who helped me get through it.”


Theresa received her undergraduate degree in sociology at Missouri State University, as well as her Master's degree in Social Work at MSU. Theresa enjoys writing, drawing, reading, music, working with animals, and most of all spending time with her family. She wishes to continue to use her experiences, combined with her pursuit of education, to foster a sense of empowerment and social awareness in the community. Theresa loves working with KSMU and attributes her passion for NPR, and love of learning, to her father.