LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. – House Majority Leader Mike Cierpiot will officially kick off his campaign for the 8th State Senate District seat June 13 at Stonehaus Farms Winery in Lee’s Summit.
Cierpiot told The Missouri Times after seven years in the House – eight by the time of the election – he was eager to stay in the Capitol given how much better of a grasp he had on the workings of Jefferson City.
“I was surprised when I got there the learning curve that was required,” Cierpiot said. “I have managed that learning curve and I think I’m much better equipped to represent my district than I was then. In an era of term limits, that’s kind of how it works, and I’m excited to do it.”
Cierpiot himself will be term-limited from serving in the House past 2018.
Even before the announcement, Cierpiot was a likely frontrunner for the seat currently occupied by Sen. Will Kraus, who will be term limited in 2018. Cierpiot has served as the House majority floor leader, one of the most influential positions in leadership, since the 2016 session, and before that, he was the assistant majority floor leader from 2013 to 2015.
Those positions of leadership have given him perspective on how to run debate in the House and given him insight into whipping votes on controversial and divisive pieces of legislation. Along with Speaker Todd Richardson, Cierpiot is often credited for the work he does to pass tough bills.
“On the contentious issues, on the ones that divide our caucus, it’s real important to listen to people and to keep that in consideration and to try to find compromise,” Cierpiot said. “I don’t think running over people is the way to do things. I didn’t do it in the House, and I don’t plan on doing it in the Senate.”
He also hails from Lee’s Summit, one of the largest cities in the district alongside Blue Springs, and has worked closely with Kraus in the Capitol. He would continue a long line of conservative senators from the area.
“My political philosophy matches my district very well, my House district, as well as the Senate district at large,” Cierpiot said. “I’m conservative, I vote conservative, but I also try to be pragmatic and get things done to help the state move forward.”
That said, Cierpiot says he does not plan on taking a general election for granted, should he make it that far.