Police officer Mitchell Kohlberg is running for state Senate with Missouri families, including his own three young children, on his mind.
Kohlberg, an officer at Jefferson College, is seeking to represent the 1st district as a Republican, replacing the term-limited Sen. Scott Sifton. His focus during his campaign is preserving Missouri families and values, he said, drawing on his experience as a father and law enforcement official.
“Throughout my career, I’ve met people at their worst and best,” Kohlberg, an officer at Jefferson College in Hillsboro, told The Missouri Times.
Having to deal with individuals who have differences among each other yet try to find a common ground has pushed Kohlberg to wanting more bipartisanship on the Senate floor, particularly when it comes to passing legislation, he said.
Kohlberg has never held elected office before; in fact, this is his first foray into the campaign world. But what he may lack in political experience, he says he makes up for in passion — especially when he considers his children’s futures.
“My oldest is 5 years old. As [my children] get older, I want to make sure Missouri values are preserved and protected,” Kohlberg said. “There’s no better way to do that other than be in the General Assembly.”
“I feel that Missouri families are being ignored,” he continued, noting he and his wife have decided to homeschool their children. “I want to give more rights to parents as to where they want their children’s education to go. I feel that right is being taken away from the parents, and I want to give it back to the parents themselves.”
Aside from education, Kohlberg said he would like to focus on trade issues and preserving the state constitution if elected to the Senate.
Democratic Rep. Doug Beck has also announced his candidacy for SD 1. A pipefitter for more than three decades, Beck served as the director of the Affton School Board for nine years and was first elected to the Missouri House in 2016. He won a re-election bid in 2018.
“I really love my community and want to give back to it,” Beck previously said. “The only reason I do this is it is just a higher form of community service.”
Considering Kohlberg has only just recently filed to run for the Senate seat, there are no publicly available financial reports yet. Beck, on the other hand, had nearly $85,000 cash on hand by the April quarterly filing deadline.
Because of term limits, Sifton cannot seek re-election to his Senate seat. He had been considering a gubernatorial bid, but ultimately decided against it. He has not yet publicly disclosed what his next move will be, although a run for statewide office is expected.
Sifton beat his Republican opponent in 2016 with 53 percent of the vote compared to Randy Jotte’s 47 percent. He was first elected to the seat in 2012 by narrowly beating incumbent Republican Sen. Jim Lembke by about one percentage point.
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 email@example.com.