Republicans in Barry County and portions of Stone and Lawrence Counties have nominated a former FFA advisor who currently works on his family farm to represent them in the state House. On Nov. 5, Scott Cupps will go up against Democrat Lisa Kalp in the race for HD 158.
Gov. Mike Parson called the special election for the district after Scott Fitzpatrick resigned to be sworn in as the state treasurer. Fitzpatrick, who was House budget chair, held the seat since the 2012 election.
“I want to be the liaison between my community and those in Jefferson City,” Cupps told The Missouri Times. “I genuinely want to be a representative of our people, of our area, and what they stand for.”
The 33-year-old noted it is important to stay focused on what is right for Missourians across the state and not get caught up in some of the rhetoric. The General Assembly should not be passing measures just to say it is passing bills, Cupps said, but rather pushing legislation that is “right.”
“We need to move forward with what is best for the state as a whole, and we need to make sure we are not letting [bad] proposals get passed,” said Cupps. “If something is not good for the state, we need to make sure it doesn’t get passed just to make more laws. We have enough laws.”
He may be fervent in his beliefs — pro-life, pro-gun, pro-community — but he can still get along with just about someone. And that ability will come in handy as a lawmaker, he noted.
From growing up on a farm to attending college to traveling the country for work, these experiences have helped shape Cupps and renewed his love for his community.
“I truly believe the area I come from is one of the greatest places to live and to work and to raise a family. And that is not by accident,” he said, adding one of his goals as a lawmaker would be to preserve what makes it a great place. “I want to be proactive and make sure we don’t go down any wrong roads.”
Self-described as logical, dedicated to facts, and Christian, Cupps cannot be characterized without mentioning farming.
“Farming is a job where you clock in at 4 years old and never clock out. It is not a job, it is not a career, it is a way of life,” Cupps said.
He taught agriculture in school and served as an FFA advisor — an agricultural organization for high school students — before heading back to school to earn his master’s degree. He now works on his family farm in Barry County.
Alisha Shurr was a reporter for The Missouri Times and The 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.