JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Former state representative Sheila Solon is looking to get back in the game.
“I have made the decision to run for the House District 9 seat,” Solon said. “I want to serve. I want to make a positive difference and help people. I have a record of helping people and passing bills that improve the lives of people in my district and the state of Missouri. I still have that desire and that commitment to serve.”
The former Republican representative is now putting her name up as a candidate to fill the seat that will be vacated by the term-limited Rep. Delus Johnson after the 2018 session. She says she’s talked with Johnson and hopes to follow in his footsteps in representing the district.
Solon previously served in the House as the state representative from District 31 but lost in the August 2016 primary to now-Representative Dan Stacy.
Solon first became a legislator in 2010, where she proved to be effective, championing measures to improve the way colleges and universities handle sexual assault cases, as well as another concerning how video from police body cameras are to be handled.
She’s been an avid supporter of gun rights, tax accountability, and education reform. She famously pushed for the banning of alcohol and smoking in the State Capitol with the exception for certain pre-approved events. She argued that, in order to improve the public image of the legislature and the culture of Missouri’s State Capitol, it should be part of the conversation.
Solon also did not favor the right-to-work legislation, something that may have proved to be a deciding factor in her loss to Stacy.
Regardless of the past, the former representative is looking to serve again.
Solon changed her committee last week and hopes to represent her newfound home. Not long after losing her former seat in the House, her husband was offered an opportunity in the area, and the two couldn’t turn it down. Since then, she’s been getting involved in the community and meeting all of the new faces she can.
“I have fallen in love with St. Joseph and northwest Missouri,” she said. “I feel like I’m very blessed to live in a community that has so much history, and the people here are so kind, generous, and hardworking.
She says that to truly get in touch with the district, she’s been immersing herself into the community, having spent a week riding public transportation, visiting the homeless shelters and soup kitchens, meeting with the local government officials, and doing ride-alongs with the local police.
“The things that are important to this district are important to families all across Missouri, whether it be jobs or public safety.”
She also hopes to continue fighting for lower taxes and push for government accountability in how that revenue is utilized.
“It’s people’s money, and we need to be as fiscally responsible as we can be when we are in charge of that,” she said. “We need to treat their money like we do our own because pennies add up to dollars, and dollars can become millions. It seems that sometimes people in government can have a casual attitude when it’s the taxpayers’ money.”
A mutual benefit is scheduled on November 2 in Kansas City for Solon, as well as Reps. Diane Franklin and Marsha Haefner, two of her former colleagues. Solon says that, so far, everyone’s response has been very encouraging, whether it be the district voters or former colleagues in the House.
She’s excited to campaign, as she’s a self-described people person. In truth, she loves knocking on doors and talking with people. She says that her hope is to hear from people what’s important to them, and show them that she is a candidate who intends to listen and represent their interests to the best of her abilities.
Benjamin Peters is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine, and also produces the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined the Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield. To contact Benjamin, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @BenjaminDPeters.