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Opinion: John Brunner: a Missouri leader with real integrity


The political world is in turmoil, and many of us are left yearning for days gone by. In my short 23 years, I have witnessed my country transform — in many ways not for the better. The grief over the current state of national politics is widespread; however, as Missourians, we have an exciting opportunity in front of us. In 2022, the people of the great state of Missouri get to choose a U.S. senator.

Many big hitters have put out statements suggesting that they are considering running, but there is one person who I hope thinks about it a little more than the rest. 

That person is John Brunner. 

Missourians deserve something real, and in a day and age where public trust is at an all-time low, John Brunner is a breath of fresh air. 

John is the real-life version of what people want in a leader; he is legitimately a good and decent man. He’s not a pseudo construction of a person created by campaign gurus. His conviction is not just a slogan to be slapped on a piece of mail only to be completely disregarded the moment the office is obtained. The authentic goodness of John and Jan Brunner cannot be overstated, and anyone who has ever had the chance to sit down with them cannot deny its existence.

The most impressive thing about John Brunner is his devotion to his family. John and Jan have been faithfully married for more than 40 years. Listening to them speak about their life — from two teenagers who met at church youth group to John’s time in the Marine Corps to the early days at the family business struggling to make ends meet with three little mouths to feed to the love they have for their 13 grandkids — it is clear that John and Jan Brunner have a knack for building things that last.

Such devotion should be a given; however, many a man has suffered from the propensity to misplace value. I have often heard it said that “as a leader goes, so goes the nation.” Moral failures are pervasive in nature; they never end with someone’s personal life. Dereliction of duty in secret always finds its way to the light, and the last thing Missouri needs is another scandal. 

The opposite is also true in that moral success in secret is an effective gauge of moral action in the public sphere. If Missourians want a state that values honor, duty, and faithfulness, then electing a man who has a track record of treasuring his wife and children would be a great start. 

Second to John’s devotion to family is his love for country. Long before he was John Brunner “the businessman,” he was just a God-fearing kid from St. Louis who loved his country enough to lay down his life if that’s what it took. After serving as an infantry officer in the Marine Corps, the kid from St. Louis came back home and built his modest family business into a wildly successful company. 

As a self-made man, John answers to no special interests. His sole motive is to do right by the people of Missouri, and all those who know him can heartily attest to this fact. In today’s world of lobbyists and endless corruption, John’s independence from mega-donors allows him to do what is best for all of us. With John Brunner, there is no fear of dark money or skeletons in the closet. 

He is exactly who he claims to be, and I would argue, even more. 

“But he’s run before and lost.” To that I say, have you ever heard the name Abraham Lincoln? I don’t want to think about the position our country would be in had the very best of men allowed a few setbacks to stop them from offering up their lives in service.

Winston Churchill was right when he said that “all the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.”

Of the names that I have heard thrown around, John Brunner is the most authentic embodiment of all of those things, and for me, that makes the choice pretty simple.