The Missouri Times is speaking to new lawmakers this session. Get to know more of the “Freshmen to Watch” here.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Rep. Jo Doll grew up overseas and attended a school located behind the Shah’s palace in Iran.
Born in Kansas City, Doll lived in England for about eight years and Iran for three years. But she’s spent nearly two decades in her district, HD 83, which includes parts of both St. Louis city and county. Doll defeated her Republican opponent in the general election by a landslide, winning by a 59 percent margin.
Doll described her district as very liberal and said her constituents are passionate about environmental, education, and LGBTQ+ issues.
The 2016 election pushed Doll to join Forward Together in Action (FTIA,) a small group that encourages people to take positive action in their communities. FTIA promotes activism by supporting and recruiting political candidates, which later led Doll to run for the school board. In 2016, Doll was elected as the vice chair of the Webster Groves Board of Education.
Doll did not consider running for the statehouse until she received a call from her predecessor, Rep. Gina Mitten. Doll met with Mitten and various other representatives to get a sense of what her life would look like.
“At the end of the day, I felt like there were a lot of issues that I really cared about and was hopeful that I could make a difference at the state level,” Doll said. “And my youngest child was graduating from high school [and the] timing was perfect, so I thought if I’m ever going to do it, now’s the time. So, here I am.”
Doll’s motivation is her three children.
“Trying to make the world a better place for them is my biggest inspiration and just trying to keep our world from doing further damage to the environment so that my kids’ kids have a planet to live on,” Doll said.
Doll has filed nine bills, but she is most passionate about HB 1300 and HB 699. HB 699 is a so-called “Pink Tax” bill that would lower taxes on feminine hygiene products. The other would require health care providers to screen for mental illnesses throughout prenatal and perinatal care.
“I am passionate about maternal health outcomes in Missouri which we know are not very good especially for people of color,” Doll said. “Trying to find a way to improve those outcomes, not just for the mothers but also for the babies. Infant mortality is also too high.”
Doll would like her constituents and fellow lawmakers to know that she is always accessible and open to hearing different sides of an issue.
“I just like to hear from people and know what I can do to help them, what I can offer to my constituents to make their life better,” Doll said.
Doll serves on the Agriculture Policy and Professional Registration and Licensing committees as well as the Special Committee on Government Accountability.
Elise Eaker studies journalism at Lincoln University. Prior to Lincoln, Elise graduated from Fulton High School. She is a native of Fulton.