MACON, Mo. — Nate Walker can recite the FFA creed, navigate the back roads of Macon County, and talk row crops with the best of them. He also knows the volunteers working the gates at the local flywheel show and the owner of the sole business in Anabel.
“I am northeast Missouri,” said Walker.
The state Senate hopeful’s roots run deep in northeast Missouri.
“Hey, Nate, I have something for you,” George Morgenweck called. He led Walker to the genealogy section at the Macon County Historical Society Museum. Morgenweck had found picture of Walker with his two sons, Madison and Preston, from decades earlier.
“I remember this,” Walker said. The photograph is now clipped to the sun visor in his pickup.
A floor above the genealogy section at the museum is a room dedicated to veterans. In that room, Walker can point out the pictures of his grandfather, cousin, uncles, and other family members. Not all came back from service alive.
The desk his uncle used while a judge, along with some of the chairs from his courtroom, resides on the bottom floor of the museum.
At the Macon County Flywheel & Collectible Show, Walker found a picture of a red barn that his family owned before it was destroyed by a tornado. Wood from that barn was used to create a side room in a building at the fairgrounds.
At the show filled with collectibles and antiques, he ran into several people he knew, some he hadn’t seen for several years.
“We call a lot of this stuff antique now,” one person joked to the 66-year-old candidate, “but it was modern when you were growing up.”
On the way to his brother’s farm driving past acres of soybeans and corn on county roads, Walker points to the cracks in the pavement and the lack of shoulder as clear examples of the need for improved infrastructure in the Show-Me State.
“I call these farm-to-market roads,” said Walker. Roads that see a lot of traffic from farm equipment and trucks hauling agricultural goods. Roads that need some improvements.
He also wants to get the word out about how severe the drought has gotten for farmers in the area. At his brother Kemper’s farm, the corn may not look that bad from the road, but walking a few rows in tells a completely different story.
The field was already drying up, with stocks and silks turning yellow. Ears were smaller than normal and had fewer kernels.
“We need rain,” said Kemper. “It’s too late to do much for the corn, but it’ll do the [soy]beans a lot of good.”
Walker first talked with Gov. Mike Parson about the effects of the drought a few weeks ago. Following an executive order, northeast Missouri is on drought alert.
“We have to protect our farmers, our ranchers,” said Walker.
“I want to be a strong voice for northeast Missouri. I have the experience, I am one of them.”
Walker comes from a varied and diverse background having been involved in business, farming, community service, economic development, journalism, real estate and politics. He first served in the Missouri House from 1981-1985, before term limits, and was elected again in 2012 where he has served three more terms.
While in the legislature he has chaired the pensions committee and served as vice-chairman of the joint committee on public employee retirement. He has also pushed legislation that would strength landowner’s rights.
“I think I am the candidate that offers the most to the people,” he said. “I will represent everyone — not just Republicans but everyone… I will represent the people and not special interests.”
In the Republican primary race, Walker will face Cindy O’Laughlin and Reps. Craig Redmon and Lindell Shumake. The winner of that race will then be up against Democrat Crystal Stephens in November.
Alisha Shurr is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University. Contact Alisha at firstname.lastname@example.org.