School Choice Supporters Victorious in Missouri Elections

The American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice, congratulates numerous candidates who support educational choice on their successes in today’s general election in Missouri.
Statement from Tommy Schultz, National Communications Director for the American Federation for Children:
“Today in key legislative races across Missouri, candidates who stood for the right of Missouri families to choose the best education options for their children prevailed. It is clear that the voters of Missouri support legislators who believe that every child should be able to attend the school that best meets his or her needs. It is time to make sure that children all across Missouri can attend the high quality public school, charter school or private school that will transform their life.”
Missouri Election Highlights

  • SD18 – Cindy O’Laughlin – Open Seat – WIN
  • SD 22 – Paul Wieland – Incumbent – WIN
  • HD47 – Chuck Basye – Incumbent – WIN
  • HD65 – Tom Hannegan – Incumbent – WIN
  • HD 97 – Mary Elizabeth Coleman – Open – WIN
  • HD 99 – Jean Evans – Incumbent – WIN
  • HD 110 – Dottie Bailey – Open seat – WIN
  • HD 135 – Steve Helms – Incumbent– WIN
  • HD 159 – Dirk Deaton – Open seat – WIN
  • HD 160 – Ben Baker – Open seat – WIN

The American Federation for Children supported the following champions of school choice who won the general election, based upon results posted by the Missouri Secretary of State.
Cindy O’Laughlin
Cindy is a Republican running to replace term-limited Brian Munzlinger in Northeast Missouri. Cindy grew up on a farm and now co-owns a concrete business with her husband, Richard. Cindy has also served on a local school board where she says she learned the importance of parents being in control of their children’s education.
Senator Paul Wieland 
Republican from Jefferson County. Elected to the Senate in 2014. Senator Wieland owns his own insurance agency with his wife. Paul served in the House for four years before being elected to the Senate in 2014. He has a long history of supporting school choice in both the House and the Senate. His website states: “One of our greatest responsibilities is to ensure that every child has access to quality education. I will work to not only improve standards but also increase student achievement. I believe we should maintain local control of the decisions about curriculum, instruction, and policy. We should also demand more accountability from our public school systems and provide alternatives to children who are mired in failing schools.”
Representative Chuck Basye 
Republican from Mid-Missouri. First elected in 2014. Prior to joining the Legislature, Chuck worked for the FAA. He has been active in Republican politics for much of his adult life. Chuck has served on the House Education Committee for several sessions where he has been a true champion of holding school administrators accountable and for providing high quality options for Missouri’s children. Chuck has voted several times to expand charter schools outside Saint Louis and Kansas City and chaired a subcommittee on creating a tax funded education savings account program for the state.
Representative Tom Hannegan 
Republican from St. Charles County. First elected in 2016. Tom is the publisher of a St. Charles magazine. He has lived his whole life in St. Charles where his family has very deep roots. Tom has been a supporter of school choice since he entered the State House in 2016. He has voted to expanded high quality charter school options to children across Missouri. On his website he states: “There is too much governmental interference in what should be local decisions with regard to education and parental choice.  I am opposed to so-called Common Core and believe parents are those most capable about making decisions regarding their own children’s education.”
Mary Elizabeth Coleman
Mary Elizabeth has six children and lives with her husband David in South Saint Louis County. Mary Elizabeth is a member of the Arnold City Council and is an attorney. She also serves on the Arch Grants Board as well as the St. Louis Zoo Board of Directors. Coleman on education: INVESTING IN OUR SCHOOLS – Quality schools create good citizens, stable jobs and thriving communities. I will fight to ensure every child can access a world class education in a safe environment.
Representative Jean Evans
Republican from Saint Louis County, first elected in 2016. Jean has spent the last twenty-five years in real-estate and financial advising. She is also a volleyball coach and active on several non-profit boards in her community. During her time in the Missouri General Assembly, Jean has voted multiple times to expand access to high quality schools to more Missouri children, including expanding charter schools to underperforming districts statewide and to create a tax credit funded education savings accounts.
Dottie Bailey 
Republican from Eureka, Missouri. Dottie is a mother of two young girls. Dottie has worked in the banking industry for her entire career and currently serves on the St. Louis Bankers Board of Directors. She also has a long history of grassroots activism in Saint Louis County.
Representative Steve Helms 
Republican from Springfield, MO. First elected in 2016. Steve is an army veteran who served a tour of duty in the First Gulf War and was honorably discharged in 1996. Steve is a small business owner and has served as Greene County Clerk.
Dirk Deaton
Dirk was born and raised in the small southwest Missouri town of Noel where he recently started the Noel Betterment Association, which is a non-profit, civic group dedicated to finding solutions to community issues. Dirk is also a minister and active in his church community. Deaton on school choice “I have a very diverse educational background. I grew up going to Noel Elementary School and was then home schooled through high school. I attended a public college (Crowder College), public university (Missouri Southern), and graduated from a private university (Liberty University.) As a direct beneficiary, I understand the immense value of education. I also know from personal experience that there is not a one size fits all solution. The authority and decision making is best placed at the local level with elected school boards, teachers, and ultimately parents.”
Ben Baker
Republican from Neosho, Missouri. Ben is the current Mayor of Neosho. He is also a minister, a professor and owns a small construction company. Ben and his wife have four children. Ben is running to replace term-limited Bill Reiboldt.
Baker on education:
“As a professor and dean of students, I understand the importance of a good education. I will fight for excellence in education for all Missouri children.”
The American Federation for Children is the nation’s leading school choice advocacy organization and works in states across the country to help secure additional, high-quality educational options for families.


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