JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The mayor of Palmyra, Loren Graham, announced that he will be running for the House District 5 seat in 2018. Currently, the office is occupied by Lindell Shumake, who is faced with term limits at the end of 2018. Graham has been mayor for 12 years.
During his time as mayor, his accomplishments include improving Palmyra’s public works infrastructure. The 3,600 person town in Marion County was able to upgrade their electrical circuits, construct a $600,000 police station, and balance the town’s budget. He mentions his plans for a project that would improve the town’s ability to drain stormwater. He’s also been able to attract businesses, like select hardware and groceries stores, to Palmyra. Outside of his mayoral duties, he works at Hannibal National Bank.
Graham, who is running as a fiscally conservative Republican, wants to foster a better economic climate in Missouri, but specifically in House District 5. Because of its central location, the district acts as an intersection of the Avenue of the Saints going from north to south, and three major highways going east to west.
“District 5, in my opinion, is located at the crossroads of the country… We’re located in a good area, as far as economic development. I feel like in this economic and political climate in our state, we have a tremendous opportunity for economic development in northeast Missouri and all along the Mississippi river,” he said.
Should he be elected to the House, he wants to assist current efforts for Missouri lawmakers to enhance the business climate. Through on his experience as mayor, he’s seen several businesses express interest in relocating to northeast Missouri and as a Representative, he would hope to facilitate efforts to bring business to the state. Outside of his plans for economic development, he expresses his commitment to his ideals.
“I’m conservative. I’m pro-life. I believe in right-to-work. I’m not always politically correct; I’m going to say what I think. A lot of politicians nowadays, I think, have to think about how they’re going to sound before they open their mouths and I just say what I believe. I don’t want to put on any airs that I’m something that I’m not.”
Should he make it to the Grand Assembly, he would like to help other House conservatives pass anti-abortion measures that “protects the unborn,” and to keep Missouri a right-to-work state. Additionally, he would like to see increased funding for education so that education formulas can continue to be fully funded.
Graham is still early in his campaign for the District 5 seat. He admits that he has yet to make any substantial campaign contributions. According to the Missouri Times August 2017 Tip Sheet, his biggest competitor is Louis Riggs, an English professor at Hannibal-LaGrange University. Riggs has a $100 on hand and has made $100 in contributions this election.
He is running for the Missouri House because he wants to represent his district and support their values with legislation.
“I’ve had a lot of encouragement, I’ve been talking to people about doing what I’ve been doing for a while. Nobody has been telling me I’ve lost my mind. So I guess I have a lot of support out there. I’m planning on going ahead with it,” he said.
Michael Layer is a reporter for the Missouri Times and the Missouri Times Magazine. He joined the Missouri Times in August 2017 after graduating from Goucher College the previous May. To contact Michael, email email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @_MichaelLayer