Franklin throws her name into competitive 2018 Senate District 16 race

Rep. Diane Franklin speaks to anti-abortion activists outside the Columbia Planned Parenthood Dec. 12, 2016. (Travis Zimpfer/THE MISSOURI TIMES)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Rep. Diane Franklin, R-Camdenton, announced she will run to represent Senate District 16 in what is quickly becoming a large field to replace the term-limited Sen. Dan Brown.

In a Facebook post-Tuesday afternoon, Franklin said she would officially announce a campaign kickoff in May or June after session ends for the year.

She spoke with The Missouri Times Wednesday about her decision to run for the seat, saying she believes she represents the district well with her backgrounds in agriculture, health care, education, living in an area driven by tourism, and owning and operating a small business.

“There are just many ways I feel like the life experiences I have in all of those areas fit the district really well,” she said. “I love working for the folks, so if they’ll have me, I’ll work for them in the Senate District.”

Franklin also highlighted her experience working with the Missouri State Highway Patrol to ensure more resources were spent keeping intoxicated boaters off of the Lake of the Ozarks, one of the state’s prime tourist destinations after the Missouri State Water Patrol was absorbed by the MSHP in 2011. She offered legislation on the bill last year but did not press for its passage after negotiating with the Highway Patrol in her office.

“I think most people are not so concerned about ‘Did you pass a bill?’ ” she says. “They are most concerned if you are listening to what they have to say, what they think is important and carrying that through in that policy process.”

Franklin has also served as the chair of the House Children and Families Committee, which notably oversees all abortion-related bills, and she led the House side of the investigation into Missouri’s Planned Parenthood centers.

She will hope that is enough to put her above what is turning out to be a busy Republican field for the primary next August. Franklin will run against Rep. Keith Frederick and Brown’s son, Justin Brown, for the Rolla physician’s seat in the Senate. On the Democratic side, Ryan Dillon, a former Congressional aide and State Department employee, has announced his intention to run for the seat as well.

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