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Five questions with Rep. Mike Lair, R-Chillicothe


1. What was your first campaign experience?

In 2008, I retired from four decades of teaching and ran for the seventh district seat and that was the first campaign I was a part of. I had no idea what it was like and some parts I didn’t like. I don’t like the self-promotion and raising money. After the campaign began, I realized the opposition could say anything they wanted. I didn’t care for that. I don’t mention my opponent during a campaign. I was a coach for a long time, so I’m used to getting cursed at or whatnot, but I wasn’t used to my family getting dragged in.

Rep. Mike Lair
Rep. Mike Lair

2. In what ways have you made a tangible effect on your constituents’ lives during the past legislative session?

I think as Chair of Appropriations for Education and as Chair of the Joint Committee on Education, I feel that I’m using my life experiences to serve the biggest employer in the seventh district, which is of course education. I serve them year round. I feel that’s probably the biggest thing I do for them.

3. Who from the opposing party do you most respect? And your own party?

Genise Montecillo is my ranking Dem on Appropriations for Education. She and her fellow Democrats do a great job of ignoring politics and centering on what is best for the kids.  Those folks are really favorites of mine. Also Chris Kelly, he’s a fountain of institutional knowledge, especially on the budget and protecting legislative power from executive encroachment.

Mike Thompson and I have been on parallel courses since I came to Missouri in 1987. We coached football and track against each other for a few decades. He was elected one term ahead of me. He chaired the Appropriation Committee before I got it and he’s a firm education advocate. John Diehl is a classmate, good floor leader; he’ll make a good Speaker.

4. What was your dream job growing up?

My high school football coach taught history and government and my respect for him probably led to my vocation, coaching and teaching.

5. What do you most enjoy about the interim?

I love to have time to attend school board, fire board, fair board and county commission, to see their problems and hear what concerns that we can help with in the legislature. I also enjoy being back in the classrooms from college to kindergarten. Being a full time husband again is a good thing, of course, too.