PALMYRA, Mo. — Along the parade route in Marion County that stretched from the Palmyra High School to the courthouse, one veteran stood at attention and saluted the parade participants. Lindell Shumake stopped and saluted the gentleman.

The first identifier on the state Senate hopeful’s sign is “Veteran.” He served in the United States Army, including a tour of duty in Vietnam. He received the Army Commendation Medal for Service.

There were several people along the parade route that wore hats identifying themselves as veterans. Shumake would walk up and thanks them for their service to the country and ask them where they served. Quite a few had also served in the Vietnam War.

On his signs, Shumake has two other identifies beyond veteran: “Pastor” and “Conservative.”  He also volunteers with prisoners, goes on mission trips to foreign countries, and is the owner of LS Tax Service Inc.

He worked for 20 years as a caseworker for the Missouri Division of Family Services and has served for eight years in the Missouri House. Now he wants to take all his experience along with everything he has learned over to the Senate.

Why?

“My work doesn’t feel finished,” Shumake said. “I have more to offer.”

Throughout the duration of the parade, numerous people knew him by name, calling out and inquiring into his well-being. Shumake also got to meet some folks for the first time.

Shaking people’s hands, inquiring into their lives, and striking up full conversations often had Shumake following behind as the parade made its way from the high school to the courthouse.

“I like meeting new people and talking to them,” Shumake said. “I like running into people I know.”

Russell Oaks sees Shumake as a “strong, conservative” candidate and he tries to help out the campaign as much as he can. For the parade, that included driving his restored 1978 Ford pickup with large “Elect Lindell Shumake” signs.  

“I am an American first, a conservative second, and a Republican third,” said Oaks. “These people here are about the same.

“[Shumake] is a veteran, he is a man of God, and he is a strong conservative. He has done some very good stuff in the legislator.”

In the General Assembly, Shumake sponsored the Veterans’ Driver’s License Designation legislation, which thousands of Missouri veterans have obtained. He has continuously pushed for passage of a bill that would authorize $63 million dollars in bonds for veterans nursing homes.

“There is always work that is undone, when we all leave there will still be work that’s undone,” said Shumake. “For my part, I want to advance things I wasn’t able to as a House member.”

Workforce development, the opioid crisis, and protecting religious freedoms are high on Shumake’s priority list should he become a state senator.

He said he will talk to business owners with open positions who don’t have people to fill them. Part of the problem, according to Shumake, is the general habits of the current workforce.

“Employers are looking for someone who will show up for work and pass a drug test,” he said, noting those combinations of traits are getting hard to find with such a low employment rate.

The state of Missouri’s roads and bridges is also a concern for Shumake along with understaffing in state prisons.

“I want to continue with the work I started in the House,” he said.

In the Republican primary race, Shumake will face Cindy O’Laughlin and Reps. Craig Redmon and Nate Walker. 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 alisha@themissouritimes.com.