ST. LOUIS – For Rep. Robert Cornejo, R-St. Peters, being a representative is primarily about working as an advocate for the best interests of his constituents. When he worked in the St. Louis office of former U.S. Senator Jim Talent, R-Missouri, he remembered helping one man receive money owed to him by the National Guard by just making a few phone calls.
Those moments of helping those who need it stick with Cornejo.
Now, he wants to use his ability to think of the little guy to help retune the the current message of the Republican party in the state.
“Some of the developments over the last few months, the Republican name has kind of taken a hit in Missouri politics,” Cornejo said. “I’m going to bring a fresh new face and move the party and the state forward.”
He added that he wants “to get things done and put what’s happened in the past behind us.”
Cornejo added that his role as a major Republican voice in both the House and around the state, helping with campaigns and being a face of his party and a solid member of the House Republican Campaign Committee (HRCC) gives him a unique edge.
“I’ve always been one of our top fundraisers,” he said. “When I’m not running for leadership, I’ve gone door-to-door, I’ve walked in parades and donated to close races to help them get past the finish line.
Cornejo also cited his key role as the House sponsor of the highly debated piece of legislation, SB 5, the bill designed to reduce the incentives received by municipal courts from traffic fines and indirectly change the way those municipalities operate.
What the representative from St. Peters hopes to achieve is an ability to give the Republican party a new figurehead in the state, while maintaining its conservative roots.Cornejo has bonafide humble beginnings that would make any meritocratic Republican diehard flush with pride.
“I grew up pretty poor,” he said. “My mom was too proud to take any government assistance.”
Instead of focusing on that aspect of his life, he recalled how often he was able to help others in his community and the fulfillment he received while doing it. He attended Washington University on a full scholarship where he captained the football team, and he later attended the School of Law there. It was here that he worked under Talent and decided that he would want to run for public office. A few years later, he got the chance, won his election and began serving in January of 2013.
Now, he wants to move up even further and become the House majority leader. After years of public service, he’s up for the challenge.
“I’ve proven myself to be the most capable candidate,” he said.