As a staff member for one of the most recognizable and outspoken members of the Senate, Groce had to learn how to play well and quick.
“I like the fact that she is one to fight for her constituents,” Groce said. “She is one to really change things that are happening in Mis- souri: education, healthcare.”
Groce, who began his college ca- reer in North Carolina on a music scholarship, plays numerous wind instruments.
When he could no longer afford tuition, Grace began looking for a Historically Black College Univer- sity near his home state of Indiana. He found Lincoln University in Jef- ferson City where Groce credits with sparking his interest in politics.
“I had an instructor named Dr. Amy Gosset,” Groce said. “She real- ly pushed us to get more involved in politics, to be more informed about what was going on. It really got me interested in that kind of stuff.”
Groce’s transition into politics began when he served as a student senator on campus and the chief justice of the student government association at Lincoln. But, for a man who plays many horns, that was just the beginning.
During his undergraduate and graduate school, Groce interned at the Secretary of State’s Office, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Upon graduation, Groce found himself unemployed and be- gan sending stacks of resumes to the Capitol building, eager to put his talents to use.
Eventually, he received a call from then-representative Nasheed, to schedule an interview. The rest, as they say, is history.
When he isn’t working during the session, Groce has more horns to play. He serves as an associ- ate minister at the Jefferson City Church of God in Christ. Working for 5-plus years as a preacher isn’t his only contribution to the church, which he says is where his relation- ship with God “took off.” Groce also serves as the Vice President of the Youth Department, the Director of the Instrumental Youth Depart- ment and the District Youth Leader for the Bishop’s Office.
“That’s where so much of it began for me,” Groce said. “I owe my life up too Him and I’ve been living for Him, and that’s very important for me.”
A busy man, Groce says there is no single legislative issue that makes him wake up in the morning. His admiration for Nasheed, and her work, seems to be plenty.
“We agree on a lot of issues, and so I’m happy to work on whatev- er she is working on,” Groce said. “It’s imperative that we have good schools, it’s imperative that we have healthcare for all people. I like the fact that she is standing up for the little guy.
Collin Reischman can be reached by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter at @CReischman