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Meet Maggie Nurrenbern, a Kansas City teacher vying for HD 15


Kansas City teacher Maggie Nurrenbern credits her high school students with fueling her decision to jump into the race to represent HD 15 in the General Assembly. 

Nurrenbern filed to run for the northern Kansas City House seat this week — with other potential Democratic contenders stepping aside to allow her to run, avoiding what seemed to be an inevitable four-way primary. HD 15 has been represented by Rep. Jon Carpenter, a Democrat, since 2012; he is prevented from running again due to term-limits. 

Nurrenbern teaches Spanish at North Kansas City High School where she praises its diversity. 

“I know it’s our diversity that makes us stronger. I’ve purposefully surrounded myself with people who are different from myself,” Nurrenbern told The Missouri Times. “I’ve learned a lot and hope I can be a voice for everyone.” 

That mantra rang true when Nurrenbern interned at the Missouri Capitol in 2006. Although a Democrat, she purposefully worked for Republican state Sen. Chuck Gross. 

“I have tremendous respect for him to bring me on knowing I was a Democrat,” she said. “I learned a heck of a lot more working with him and listening to Republicans instead of sitting in my own camp where I’d sit and nod all day.” 

It was then Nurrenbern said she learned “what it meant to work across the aisle.” She recalled Republicans and Democrats literally sitting down at a table to hammer out legislation, noting she would “like to do what I can to bring back that bipartisan relationship” among lawmakers if elected. 

“I know there are some hot button issues, but I truly believe in my core that we agree on more than disagree,” she said. 

A longtime teacher, it’s no surprise that Nurrenbern is focused on education as part of her platform.  Aside from her job at North Kansas City High School, Nurrenbern — who has a master’s degree in education from the University of Missouri, Kansas City — has also taught at University Academy and worked in education while serving in the Peace Corps in Ecuador for two years. She said she wants to protect public education in Missouri. 

Nurrenbern is also focused on government accountability, infrastructure needs, and health care, the latter of which a concern she’s heard countless times while door-knocking, she said. 

Nurrenbern has never run for office before, but she’s been involved in the political world — especially in Kansas City. She has gathered signatures for Clean Missouri and raising the minimum wage; she’s served as sponsor of the Young Democrats and knocked doors for former U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill. 

Nurrenbern said she also worked to help flip SD 17 for Democratic state Sen. Lauren Arthur, a woman who has become a political “inspiration” for her. 

“Maggie’s strong work ethic and intelligence make her a great candidate,” Arthur told The Missouri Times. “Most importantly, she’ll dedicate herself to serving her constituents. We’re lucky she decided to run for office — and we’ll all be better off once she’s elected.” 

“I’ve gotten to know Maggie over the years through her involvement in the Northland. I believe she will be a strong representative for District 15 and provide proper representation for hard-working Missourians,” Clay County Democratic Chairman Bill Skaggs said in a statement. 

Two Republicans have filed to run for the seat: Steve West and Adam Richardson. West was the previous Republican nominee for the seat but has been disavowed by GOP House leadership over comments he’s made on his radio show. Nurrenbern has also said she’s the “antithesis” to West. 

She has more than $32,000 cash on hand, according to her latest filing report. West has a little more than $4,100, and Richardson has more than $116.