Wallingford, a Republican, had a corner office with a view of the Missouri River, sat on various important committees, and overall enjoyed serving the constituents of what was then the 158th district. He had no plans to join the upper chamber. But by the end of the year, after much prayer, he reconsidered.
Next year will be Wallingford’s last in the state Senate due to term limits, but he’s not quite ready to leave the General Assembly. There’s still more work to be done, he says. So, he’s campaigning for the House again, this time to take over Rep. Kathy Swan’s seat, now HD-147.
“I made a promise when I came into the House: I would read every bill,” Wallingford told The Missouri Times. “Well, this was my ninth year in the legislature, and I’ve read every bill. I do my own research.”
He keeps dozens of binders — both in his office and his condo — meticulously labeled with various topics of his research on economic development, education, veterans issues, transportation, and welfare, just to name a few.
Wallingford said he’s enjoyed serving in the Senate — particularly pointing to the influence that chamber wields with its fewer members. In 2019, Wallingford carried 26 bills, not including House bills he sponsored. Of those, 13 passed the General Assembly.
“In the legislature, getting that many through is probably a pretty good accomplishment,” Wallingford, the assistant majority floor leader, said.
One of the biggest issues facing the House district he hopes to represent — as well as the state as a whole — is transportation, according to Wallingford.
“We had a little fix this year, better than nothing, but it’s not the final solution,” Wallingford said. He predicted the Republican Caucus meeting before the 2020 legislative session would make transportation a “priority.”
When he decided to make a bid for the House again, Wallingford said his “good friend” Swan, also a Republican, was his first call.
“When people started coming to me — and this has been going on for at least a year — I called Rep. Swan … and I told her I was thinking about that and praying about that just so she would know,” Wallingford recalled. “Once I announced it, before it came out in the paper, the first phone call was to Rep. Swan to tell her she’d be seeing in the newspaper the next day that I’m running for the state representative position. She was very thankful I let her know.”
Swan is running for Wallingford’s SD-27 seat.
Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a reporter with The Missouri Times and The Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the newspaper in 2019 after working as a reporter for Fox News in New York City. Throughout her career, Kaitlyn has covered political campaigns across the U.S. and humanitarian aid efforts in Africa. She is a native of Missouri who studied journalism at Winthrop University in South Carolina. Contact Kaitlyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.