With just one legislative session under his belt, a lawmaker from southeast Missouri is looking to take his skills to the state Senate.
Rep. Jeff Shawan is the second Republican to throw his hat in the ring to represent SD 25. The seat is held by Republican Sen. Doug Libla, who is term-limited — leaving the 2020 election without an incumbent.
“I’m an entrepreneur by trade and was inspired by President Trump’s candidacy. Like the President, I’ve seen businesses succeed and businesses fail. I know the pain of having everything I’ve worked for taken away because of a catastrophic family illness,” Shawan said. “But through it all I’ve been able to achieve my American Dream through hard work and determination.”
This is not the first time he has made a bid for the seat. In 2011, Shawan announced his intention to replace term-limited Sen. Rob Mayer, also a Republican, but withdrew from the race.
Before entering the state House, Shawan served as the Emergency Management director for Butler County. He has been a small business owner for more than 20 years and volunteered with the Red Cross and Black River Coliseum.
“Like many outspoken conservatives, I’ve experienced first-hand a corrupt government agency trying to end my career and others in my family. Those threats didn’t stop me from speaking out for our conservative values then, and they won’t stop me now as your State Senator,” Shawan said.
In his first session as a lawmaker, Shawan sent one bill to the governor’s desk. HB 926 allows the use of specified motor vehicle dealer license plates on cars used by customers while their vehicles are being serviced or repaired by the motor vehicle dealer.
Shawan pushed for legislation to prevent drug overdose deaths and encouraged business investments in rural communities. He also sought to “protect Missouri’s agricultural industry from the Green New Deal.”
Shawan said he is running for the Senate to promote individual liberty and get the government off the backs of small business owners and their families.
So far, one other Republican has entered the race. Eddy Justice, a State Farm insurance agent, launched his campaign earlier this year.
Both Republicans have hefty war chests at this point, too. According to July campaign filings, Justice has $110,067.31 cash on hand while Shawan has $143,147.92 in the bank. Both campaigns have debt: Justice with $60,000 and Shawan with $162,000.
At the end of February, Shawan made the uncommon — but not unheard of — move of putting $100,000 of his own money into his campaign committee’s bank account.
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.