PACIFIC, Mo. – In a twisting journey to the ballot, Kirk Mathews will be joining the 98th General Assembly in January. Both of the open filing periods have closed and Mathews remains unopposed for the district Speaker of the House Tim Jones will be vacating due to term limits.
Originally, Republican Dennis Broadbooks filed for the seat and was unopposed, but he withdrew his name because of health reasons, and Mathews filed. A Democrat had filed after Broadbooks, but his name also disappeared a few weeks ago. The seat has gone a few election cycles without a candidate from the Democratic Party.
Mathews will be bringing a lot of private sector experience to the Capitol in January. He has owned his own business in the healthcare field.
“I have a lot of experience dealing with Medicaid and I understand the program,” Mathews said. “I know what it means to grow a company. I know what it takes to start a business and really create jobs and what it means to need to budget in a fairly large organization.”
He owned his own business, which employed over 150 people, for 15 years before selling it and currently works as a realtor. Mathews has been active behind the scenes in local politics and comes from a large family. He has four children; the oldest daughter is married to Republican consultant David Hageman.
When asked for little known facts about himself, Mathews said that he was an athlete.
“I played football in college,” Mathews said. “I made the Associated Press All-American team. I played quarterback. I’ve always gravitated towards leadership positions – I am naturally wired that way.”
His wiring also includes his desire to keep an open mind when it comes to bi-partisanship.
“Politics is destructive in a lot of ways, but that is not necessarily my style,” Mathews said. “I like people. I enjoy the conversation. At the end of the day, we have to govern.”
Mathews lists state sovereignty and protection of family values as priorities going into the 98th General Assembly.
Outside of business and politics, Mathews is very active in his church and has served as a vocalist and worship leader for over 20 years. His singing took him to Busch Stadium, where he said he sang the National Anthem the night that Mark McGwire hit his first home run.
The 110th District covers the Eureka/Pacific area which is south of St. Louis.
Rachael Herndon was the editor at The Missouri Times and also produced This Week in Missouri Politics, published Missouri Times Magazine, and co-hosted the #MoLeg podcast. She joined The Missouri Times in 2014, returning to political reporting after working as a campaign and legislative staffer.
Rachael studied at the University of Missouri – Columbia. She lives in Jefferson City with her husband, Brandon, and their two children.