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10 Questions with Jill Schupp

As part of our ongoing election coverage, we asked the Democratic state senate candidate Jill Schupp 10 questions.

The Missouri Times: First things first, “conventional wisdom” says this will be a close race. Do you agree?

Voters know me. They know what I stand for. There is a lingering buyer’s remorse from four years ago, when another Republican candidate with no track record and no accountability narrowly won. The race will be close – not because there isn’t a clear choice, but because with no statewide races and very little on the ballot, turnout will be a challenge for both sides. We have been planning for this and have built a strong field program focused on voter turnout.

TMT: A recent poll released by Republicans showed Jay Ashcroft leading by a few percentage points. Assuming you’ve done your own polling, how do you respond to that?

We are aware of multiple polls that have me leading, even after my opponent spent more than $200,000 in the primary to build his name ID. The polls, including the poll you referenced, show high unfavorables for my opponent. Our polling shows me with a double digit lead once voters have balanced information about both candidates.


TMT: Ashcroft has been the beneficiary of two sizeable donations from state Republicans. How important is it to outraise your opponent?

It isn’t. I have the resources needed to communicate with voters. I have held a significant cash on-hand advantage throughout the entire campaign. Unified support on the Democratic side meant that I didn’t have to spend money in the primary. My opponent spent more than $200,000 in the primary and nearly 46% of Republican primary voters still voted for someone else.

My contributions are coming from people: people who will vote in November, who are volunteering and who are helping the campaign in many other ways. That kind of support can’t be bought.

TMT: You’ve had a lot of time to meet with voters. What’s the issue you hear most consistently raised by your constituents?

People are concerned about the economy above all else. I share that concern. I will fight for more jobs, better schools and stronger opportunities for Missouri families.

TMT: What’s a past legislative accomplishment or experience that you think makes you uniquely qualified to serve in the Senate?

Legislative accomplishments can happen in a variety of ways.  It is critical to be open to the possibilities, to think differently and to look for creative solutions to problems. When the Lt. Governor’s office was being defunded of the $300,000-$500,000 per year it was using in an unbid state contract to pay for having veterans stories recorded for the Library of Congress, it was clear that this was money the state simply did not have to spend.  

However, defunding the program meant those important stories of the rank and file members of our armed forces would be lost. I made a commitment to work with the University and other organizations to find a way to ensure that stories would be told and recorded for posterity, archived with the State Historical Society and the Library of Congress. I founded the Missouri Veterans History Project (MVHP) with the help of many other good people and their organizations. This volunteer-based program is alive and well today. Over 650 Missouri veterans have told and had their stories archived, saving the state more than $1 million dollars and continuing to honor the service of these men and women who make up the fabric of our nation’s history.  

TMT: In that same vein, can you talk about a few things that distinguish you from your opponent?

We have very different life experiences. I was raised here and I raised my family here.  I’ve seen changes in Missouri that have moved us from a state centered around common sense middle class values to become a state run by extremists. We are off track. I have worked with passion, resolve and success in public service and will continue to blend my strong work ethic with experience in the world of business, raising a family and volunteering in the community into moving this district and this state in a positive direction. I wasn’t recruited to run because of my family name. I have been fighting for middle class families in every aspect of public service from my days on the school board to my days in the State House.

TMT: The Senate left veto session on a somewhat tense note, and Democrats will remain distinctly outnumbered in the chamber even with successes in November. How do you anticipate trying to navigate such a difficult and sometimes partisan environment?

My approach has always been one of collaboration. It doesn’t matter who gets credit if you can get something positive done. Sometimes, as a member of the minority, that may mean playing defense against extreme legislation.

TMT: What’s an issue that you feel there is a bipartisan agreement on among lawmakers in Jefferson City?

We agree that we need to bring more jobs to Missouri and to do that, we have to make sure all of our kids get a quality education. We disagree on the best way to achieve those outcomes.

TMT: Your district last elected Sen. John Lamping who is nowhere near you on the ideological spectrum. Has the 24th gotten more conservative or more liberal since 2010?

Neither. Voters in the 24th District don’t want an extreme candidate on either end of the spectrum. They want someone who will stand up for middle class values and stand up to special interests that have highjacked the agenda in Jefferson City. That is why I’m running.

TMT: Finally, assuming you’re elected, what’s the first piece of legislation you’d like to file?

Special interests have too much power in Jefferson City. I will file legislation to reinstate contribution limits. I will also continue to work to pass Nathan’s Law to help ensure the safety and well-being of Missouri children.