The race to become state representative for the 50th district is expected to be more competitive than previous contests.
Representative Sara Walsh, R-Ashland, currently holds the seat but is not running for re-election. She initially ran for Missouri’s 4th congressional district, but dropped out because that district’s redistricting cut off her base of support in the state’s 50th district.
The boundaries of the 50th District have shrunk since the state’s last election cycle. Previously, the district expanded south to include parts of Boone, Cole, Cooper, and Moniteau counties.
This year, the district is confined to the southern limits of the city of Columbia and some adjacent areas of the county. Both candidates said the District’s loss of rural land south of Columbia means the 50th District is likely to become less of a Republican stronghold than in past elections.
The candidates are Democrat Doug Mann, a civil rights attorney who works for TGH Litigation LLC, and Republican James Musgraves, a retired Navy commander.
Occupation: Civil rights lawyer, former high school history and civics teacher.
Education: Bachelor of History and Master of Education from Niagara University, Master of Public Policy from University of Illinois at Chicago, JD from MU.
Background: Mann said his top priorities would be to increase funding for public schools, increase access to mental health care, improve workers’ rights and fight for reproductive rights. Mann said about 25% of Missouri school districts operate four-day weeks and that “it really shouldn’t be a partisan issue” to increase funding for public schools so they can have five-day weeks.
Mann said increased funding for the state Department of Mental Health will address staffing issues and provide it with the resources to help people in mental health crisis. Increased funding for the state Human Rights Commission, Mann said, would help clear the commission’s backlog of employment discrimination cases.
Mann said he was a “strong pro-choice candidate.” Although Missouri banned abortion after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Mann said reproductive health care could still be at risk and he would work to protect access to it.
Occupation: Retired United States Navy Commander
Education: Bachelor of Political Science from MU, Master of Education, and Master of Science in Administration in Human Performance Technology from the University of West Florida.
Social media: Twitter: @JimMusgravesMO
Background: Musgraves said his platform focused on strengthening the economy, repairing infrastructure, improving parents’ access to their children’s education and supporting law enforcement. Musgraves said the economy is “everybody’s concern” right now because inflation and the cost of living are rising. He supports the repeal Missouri Gasoline Tax Increase and personal property tax.
Missouri’s 250 miles of Interstate 70 is among the “least rehabilitated sections” of the highway in the country, he said. Calling the highway the “carotid artery” of the U.S. procurement system, he said the federal government should direct Missouri taxpayer dollars toward improvements. Musgraves said the public education system is “struggling to wake up to political correctness” and that schools should focus on reading, math and science. He said parents must have access to their children’s school programs.
He said he would work to understand and assist the Columbia Police Department and the staffing and funding needs of the Boone County Sheriff’s Department.