Three Republican candidates from Jefferson County are vying in the Aug. 4 primary for the District 115 Missouri House of Representatives seat soon vacated by Elaine Gannon, who reached her term limit.
Cyndi Buchheit-Courtway, Marvin Fricke and Ryan Jones are running against one another to represent the district that includes parts of Jefferson, St. Francois, and Ste. Genevieve Counties. Fricke challenged Gannon in 2018.
Cynthia Nugent, of Bloomsdale, is running unopposed in the Democratic primary.
Buchheit-Courtway, 44, lives in Festus with her husband, David. They have five children and 15 grandchildren.
She graduated from St. Vincent De Paul High School in Perryville in 1994. She earned an associate degree from Jefferson College in 2018.
She works full-time at Mercy Hospital Jefferson as the health information services specialist and works part-time at Enterprise Bank and Trust in De Soto. She spent 13 years working at Buchheit Inc. in the original store in Biehle, as well as the two locations in Perryville.
“I have over 20 years of business experience/management experience,” Buchheit-Courtway said. “I have developed budgets, managed cash assets and human resources.”
She said she is running for office so she can continue to help people.
“I have the heart of a servant,” she explained. “I have been blessed in my life having the opportunity to help people on a daily basis. I feel a calling to continue this on a larger scale. I feel that the mark of a true representative is exactly what the word says -- representative. I want to represent the people of our district by fighting for their voices to be heard. I want to be a voice for those who feel they have no voice.”
Her life and work experience make her qualified for the job, according to Buchheit-Courtway.
“I have worked hard at being an advocate for others,” she explained. “I have always been willing to step up when needed either as part of a team or as a leader. I have business experience and customer service experience. I have lived in, worked in and raised a family in this district. I have also participated, volunteered and worked with several groups and organizations. I am fair and will listen to all sides of issues before making final decisions if given the opportunity.”
She belongs to the 67 Gun Club, the St. Francois County Conservative Club, Ste. Genevieve County Republican Club, the Jefferson County Republican Club, Perry County Republican Club, Festus Crystal City Conservation Club and the National Federation of Republican Women Club. She also goes to the Festus-Crystal City First Baptist Church and has been a Sunday school teacher and AWANA’s leader for 10 years each.
Buchheit-Courtway said her experience in the district sets her apart from her fellow candidates. She has lived in the district for more than a decade, has raised kids who have gone through the school system, and now has grandchildren in the schools. She would appreciate the opportunity to serve the communities on a larger scale.
“I have been a homeowner; (I) understand what it is like to pay real estate and personal property taxes,” she added. “I have supported local businesses in the 115th legislative district, have volunteered with several civic and church children’s ministries. I have helped many candidates working grassroots to win many races. I have worked alongside people in this community and have helped where needed.”
Advocating for increasing economic development, investing in infrastructure, and prioritizing workforce development is important to Buchheit-Courtway.
“We need to train our workforce for the skills that employers are looking for,” she said.
She said she is pro-life from conception to natural end of life.
“I am supportive of ensuring there are adequate resources for our seniors,” she added.
She believes mental health awareness is an issue that needs more attention.
“We have so many people who are suffering and think they are alone and have no place to turn to,” she explained. “I want to work to change this. We must identify and provide additional resources for mental health awareness and suicide prevention.”
Buchheit-Courtway said supporting the Second Amendment is also important to her. She has been given an AQ rating from the NRA.
“As the treasurer of the 67 Gun Club in St. Francois County for the last four years and a member for the last six, I fully support our constitutional right to protect ourselves and our property,” she said.
She also supports rural fire fighters, law enforcement, and all first responders.
She has been endorsed by Missouri Right to Life, Jefferson County Labor PAC, St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council, St. Louis Labor Council, Missouri AFL-CIO COPE and LiUNA Local 110
Fricke, 71, lives in rural De Soto. He is divorced with a daughter and a son.
He has owned two small businesses and served in the Army from 1966-1969.
He said his age and his business experience make him qualified for the position.
Getting better coverage for phones and internet at a reasonable price and taking care of veterans are important issues for Fricke.
“(I’m) tired of watching the ones not doing their jobs and words falling on deaf ears,” he said.
He said he has been endorsed by Missouri Right to Life and Fraternal Order of Eagles.
Jones, 29, is single and lives in De Soto.
He has an associate degree from Jefferson College and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Missouri.
“My education gives me insight to education policy to make sure that our schools have what they need,” Jones said.
He has worked for several different businesses based in retail.
“I have overseen millions of dollars in sales every year and keeping staffs of hundreds of people,” Jones said. “I know what problems we have that cause us to lose small businesses.”
In his spare time, he said, he has advocated public policy for gun rights, the First Amendment, and decreasing the tax burden.
“I know what it takes to pass good policy and will fight for my district,” he said.
Jones said he is running to make Missouri the best it can be.
“I am running because I am tired of watching politicians not make the simple steps that the majority of Missourians agree on but instead try to create bills that combine bad policy with good policy hoping to sneak it past the voter,” he explained. “I want to make this state the best possible version for future generations instead of setting up laws that restrict them from living their lives.”
Education is an important issue for Jones. He wants to make sure that teachers and parents have everything they need to help their children have a successful education, especially with the new challenges they are facing.
“Since I have studied education policy, I believe that will help when having conversations with administrations, teachers, and parents,” he added.
He said he also wants to continue to grow businesses and jobs in the district.
“Reducing the amount that our state gives in corporate welfare to create a level playing ground is critical for our state to get back to where we need to be, making sure that we have quality jobs for the people in my district,” Jones said. “This would also encourage new small businesses to be involved in the process.”
Decreasing the amount of control and barriers that are set up for residents is also important to him.
“Missouri needs to continue to reduce the burden to start new business and allowing individuals to make their own choices unrestricted,” he said.
Jones is a part of the Jefferson County Republican Club, Republican Liberty Caucus, Jefferson County Pachyderms, and Young Republicans.
He has been endorsed by the Republican Liberty Caucus, Missouri Right to Life, Young Americans for Liberty and Jefferson County Leadership PAC.
He was given an AQ rating from the NRA and an A rating from the Missouri Firearms Coalition.
Nikki Overfelt is a reporter for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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