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Rep. Rebecca Roeber passes away

Rebecca Roeber, the state lawmaker known for her advocacy of school choice, has died. The Republican legislator from Lee’s Summit passed away in her sleep on Tuesday morning.  

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of my good friend, and a beloved colleague of the members of the House, Rebecca Roeber,” House Speaker Elijah Haahr told The Missouri Times.

“It’s a terrible loss. She was making so much progress in her recovery. She was working so hard at rehab. I feel so bad for her family. My wife and I will continue to pray for the Roebers,” Sen. Mike Cierpiot told The Missouri Times.

Prior to being an elected official, Roeber spent 17 years as an educator in the Raytown district. She was first elected to the Missouri House in 2014 and was re-elected in 2016 and 2018. Roeber was the chair of the House Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education.

Each year in the legislature, the former teacher advocated for expanding charter schools in order to improve the education landscape in the state. During the 2019 session, Roeber’s charter school expansion proposal made it onto the House calendar but ultimately stalled out.

“Even under tremendous pressure, Representative Roeber stood firm in her beliefs. Throughout her life, she taught and advocated for students so that our state might be a little bit better tomorrow than it was yesterday,” House Majority Floor Leader Rob Vescovo said. “[Roeber]’s legacy will live on through those students and her family, whom she loved dearly.”

“She was a truly wonderful person and a dedicated public servant who will be greatly missed. As a former teacher and then as a member of the House, Rebecca had a passion to see our children learn and develop the tools to succeed in life. She will forever be remembered for being a champion for Missouri’s students,” Haahr said. “I join many others in praying for her loving husband and family during this difficult time.”

A serious car accident sidelined Roeber for the second half of the 2019 regular session and she had been working towards recovery for the last several months. She had just recently returned home.

While driving to Jefferson City on March 25, the junior legislator was involved in a two-car collision near Syracuse. She suffered 18 broken bones and was in critical condition for weeks.

From her rehabilitation facility in June, Roeber announced her intention to run for a fourth term in the Missouri House. 

Roeber was 61 years old.