After more than a decade in education, Jessica Piper hopes to bring her insight and historical knowledge to the race for HD 1 in 2022.
Piper, a Democratic voice in a district that largely votes red, seeks to replace GOP Rep. Allen Andrews when he terms out of the House in 2022. Piper said her goal of representing the interests of her community and young constituents outweighed the challenges presented by her future race.
“It’s very uncomfortable running, especially as a Democrat in a district where the last one lost by 80 points,” Piper told The Missouri Times. “I’m doing it for my community — hopefully I can do better for the kids in my class and my own children and make our community better.”
Piper outlined several priorities she hoped to focus on if she makes it to the statehouse, including funding adjustments to improve her community from the roads and agriculture to education and health care.
“It’s hard to keep teachers here,” she said. “They’re paid so little and expected to put on school plays, work ball games, do the school newspaper, and all of these other things that eat up all of their time — it’s a very important topic to me. Additionally, rural hospitals are struggling, having to join with other organizations because they can’t make it on their own.”
Piper, who teaches American Literature to high schoolers, said her knowledge of history through literature would be an asset in the statehouse, where she said lawmakers sometimes missed the impact their legislative decisions would have on minority groups and Missouri’s youth. In looking to a future in the statehouse, Piper said she hoped to represent the next generation of Missourians as well as the needs of her community.
“When I look at these bills, I honestly think about the kids in my class — ‘what would this do to her, what would this do to him?’” she said. “I think about the people in my community and how it would affect them, and I don’t really see that in these representatives. I don’t see them mulling over how it will impact the community when they write bills or vote on them, and it’s very frustrating to me as a teacher and a parent. That’s something I would hope to change.”