Behind the lawmakers: Mark Schupp, husband of Sen. Jill Schupp

   

What do you do?
After serving as CEO and President of an advertising agency for almost 25 years, I sold the business and retired in 2014. When people retire they typically travel and play more golf, which is what I decided to do, but on steroids. Shortly after retiring, I took a class in computer programming and designed a website to document my travels across Missouri playing and reviewing every golf course in the state. There are almost 400 courses, public and private, in Missouri in every nook and cranny of the state. I think I have traveled on more state highways than anyone in history. I am very proud of the website, www.MoGolfTour.com. The website is the largest and most comprehensive site in the country focused exclusively on Missouri golf courses. It is also the best resource for golfers who want to find a new course in their current city or in another Missouri city.

Besides MoGolfTour.com, I am focused on giving back to our community by serving on the board of directors of 3 not-for-profits, the Greater Missouri Alzheimer’s Association (where I am the chairman-elect for 2019), University of Central Missouri Foundation and Grace Hill, a St. Louis inner-city organization that delivers programs based on best practices that help us address core St. Louis disparities.

How did you meet your spouse? 
Jill and I met where we both worked in our early 20’s at D’Arcy MacManus and Masius. We met for the first time when Jill pitched for the company softball team and I was the coach.

Mark and Sen. Jill Schupp

When you met your spouse, did you think they would run for office one day?
When I first met Jill, she had a spunk and social awareness I had never seen in anyone. I have learned so much from her over our 32 years of marriage. She has the highest level of integrity, morality, and ethics of anyone I have ever known. I know most elected officials say they ran for office to help people. Jill is truly in office to make our state and world a better place. While I do not agree on every issue with Jill, I know that she is supporting or not supporting issues for only the right reasons. Jill is totally above reproach and I have absolute respect for her as a person and elected official.

What did you think when your spouse decided they would be running for office?
Jill did not have political aspirations in any way, shape or form, even though she is a natural leader and has never lost an election, starting with 6th-grade class president. She was also Sophomore Class President and then Student Body President. She ran for Ladue School Board, her first foray into public office, because she was not happy with several policies in our school district. For the record, during her terms on the school board she able to change every policy she wanted changed. Then, she ran for city council, served on Planning and Zoning, State Representative and now Senate. Jill ran for each of these offices because she wanted to improve the lives of her constituents and the people of Missouri. There is nothing ever self-serving about her motives. I hold her in such high regard that it would be selfish of me not to support her. In some way I think I am doing my part for society by supporting Jill in her legislative efforts.

 How has your spouse’s election impacted your family?
It has obviously had an impact on our family because Jill is all-consumed with her responsibilities as a Senator. She is not home many nights throughout the year, not just during session, but that just goes with the territory. We are both pretty independent and support each other’s endeavors. Our kids live out of state so her responsibilities have very minimal impact on them. 

Schupp Family

Tell us about your kids.
We have two boys, one who lives in Chicago and the other in Denver. No grandkids yet. I’ve always said that when I die I want to be reincarnated as Jill’s grandchild. She LOVES kids and, if our great nieces and nephews are indicative of how our grandkids will be treated, they will be totally spoiled.

What do the kids think about having a parent/grandparent as a lawmaker? What do they think they do when they go to the Capitol?
Our sons, Brandon and Alex, are very proud of their mom. Since both of our kids live out of state, they have spent very little time at the capitol, although both have had the opportunity to attend one of Jill’s inaugurations. Jill’s entire family takes a lot of pride in their daughter, sister, aunt, etc. being a State Senator. A few years ago Jill’s dad, Harry, was pulled over by a local policeman for not wearing his seatbelt. After taking my father-in-law’s license back to the police car, Harry asked the policeman, “Do you know who my daughter is?” The policeman answered, “Yes, I like Senator Schupp a lot and here is your ticket. Have a nice day, sir.”

Do you have any fun stories about visiting the Capitol?
When Jill first ran for State Representative I told her I would come visit her almost every week. Yeah, not so much. However, since my mom lives in Kansas City, I drive across the state every couple of weeks. When convenient, I will swing by Jeff City on the way home to watch Jill on the floor and spend a little time with her. I love the fact that Jill shares a 2-bedroom apartment a block away from the Capitol with 3 other female legislators. And, they are all such a force in their own ways. That house must have a glow around it, much like the building in Ghost Busters. 

What does your family do when somehow everyone is home?
We are rarely all home at the same time since our kids live out of town. We do, though, get together during the holidays, usually at our beach home in Florida. We love to hang out on the beach, exercise, see movies, go deep sea fishing and try new restaurants. When Jill is not attending official dinners, galas, meetings, etc. in the evening while home in St. Louis we enjoy drinking wine and eating out. 

What’s your favorite story of being a spouse of a lawmaker?
I love to listen to the floor debates on the radio when I am traveling around the state for MoGolfTour.com. I find them very entertaining, particularly when certain senators have the floor. I can always tell when Jill is participating in a filibuster because MoGolfTour.com experiences a spike in hits because she inevitably mentions it.

What have you learned about politics that you didn’t know before your spouse ran for office?
Are you kidding? Everything. I knew pretty much what the average American knows about politics, which is not much. I am fairly sure most do not understand the difference between a state representative and a senator. And, how many times are our state reps and senators called Congressman or Congresswoman? I now understand the process of a bill becoming law, what a PQ means and its consequences, how political the process works, etc. 

This piece is featured as part of the Missouri Times’ Behind the Lawmaker appearing in the January 2019 Missouri Times Magazine.

Rachael Herndon is the editor at The Missouri Times, and also produces This Week in Missouri Politics, publishes Missouri Times Magazine, and co-hosts the #moleg podcast. She joined the Missouri Times in 2014, returning to political reporting after working as a campaign and legislative staffer.

Rachael studied at the University of Missouri – Columbia. She lives in Jefferson City with her husband, Brandon, and their two children.

To contact Rachael, email rachael@themissouritimes.com, or via Twitter @TheRachDunn.