Missouri’s 52nd District for the House of Representatives, encompassing Sedalia, Knob Noster and Whiteman Air Force Base, could have a new representative next year, as a Sedalian announced his candidacy last week.
Kyle Garner, a Democrat, announced he will be running for the seat held by Nathan Beard, R-Sedalia. This is Beard’s first term in office. Garner is a graduate of Webster University with a degree in history.
Garner has lived in Missouri for most of his life, with the exception of about three years while his wife, Maggie, was stationed in Illinois. The couple, expecting their first child in February, moved to Sedalia a little more than a year ago. His wife is stationed at Whiteman Air Force Base as a captain and physician, while Garner is studying in his second year at the University of Missouri graduate school and is a legal assistant part-time, due to campaign needs.
“I have the ability and duty to help make the state a better place. Looking at our government over the last couple years, lawmakers are not doing a good job of making Missouri better for Missourians,” Garner said. “It’s not only Republicans; there’s not a lot of cooperation and working together and I think Missouri needs a strong leader and someone to represent Sedalia and Knob Noster and the area.
“I think (Beard has) been absent from the public view and it’s even hard to know where he really stands on almost any issue. We need someone in office who represents the people and is not just another office holder.”
Garner said he supports Medicaid expansion in Missouri along with more funding for education, noting both issues would “have a huge benefit to our area,” while he is against Right to Work legislation.
“Bothwell (Regional Health Center) saw $6 million in revenue with Obamacare, and that would be higher if Medicaid expanded,” he said. “That’s better paying jobs, a benefit to almost the entire population of our district; it’s a big issue we need to tackle.
“Another thing we’re seeing is proper funding for education,” he continued. “That’s huge, making sure our teachers have that support and not have to worry about political pressure from politicians. Education is a huge benefit for the entire population. It’s the best way to increase earnings and provide for your family.”
Garner noted another issue for the 52nd District and the entire state is funding for improved highways, saying helping citizens travel safely is “a basic function of state government.”
“That’s another one you can throw the party out the window — it’s been an issue for two decades,” Garner said. “We didn’t have people who were really firm with it and get things done in Jefferson City. Something around 650 bridges are in critical condition in the state. … It’s not just an issue in Pettis County but an issue throughout the entire state.”
Garner is a Democrat running in a typically Republican area, but he said he thinks his views will benefit everyone.
“I think if you look at Sedalia and Knob Noster and the Base and you look at the policies Democrats are supporting, they’re good for the vast majority of people,” he said. “It’s just a matter of getting that message out there, getting support from voters.
“… Another thing, part of the reason I’m running the direction I am is, it shouldn’t just be Republican or Democrat — we need good, strong leaders that don’t just cave to pressure, they actually represent the people,” Garner added. “I’m running as a Democrat, but as a strong leader who’s going to work as hard as I can for the people of the district, regardless of party.”
Garner previously worked in landscaping, a warehouse, and was a research assistant in the Attorney General’s office, and he said his varied work history is part of what makes him a strong candidate for the 52nd District.
“I think my biggest strength as a candidate, and potential representative, look at my work history — I’ve been the person in a minimum wage job, paying bills and there’s nothing left,” he said. “I know what that actually is like in terms of being able to take care of a family, sustain a good life. My work experience compared to my opponent, there’s a pretty big difference there. I don’t think he really understands what a working class family goes through in 2015. Voters looking at ‘who knows what I go through on a daily basis?’ there’s a pretty stark contrast to be given.”
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1482 or @NicoleRCooke.