Meet Jessie Shepherd, running for Missouri House of Representatives in District 114
To Jessie, a State Representative is someone who represents the people by listening to their problems and finding real solutions on a legislative level. Here’s why running for this position matters to her: The Missouri Legislature has a history of not truly listening to the people. Jessie told us that many times citizens will petition to get certain measures on the ballot and the legislature will overturn them saying that the people don’t understand what they’re voting for. As you can assume, this feels demoralizing for people who are gathering support for something that will just be shot down or dismissed once it reaches the legislative level.
Jessie has a background in just about everything from retail, to food service, to most recently—humanitarian social work. This helps her in understanding the needs of many different types of people in her district. In her background in disability support, Jessie saw how the state budgets for social programs can be hugely influential in connecting people to resources they need. Without funding, people cannot always get the help as they need. Jessie learned how to help people with disabilities advocate for themselves and find solutions to their problems. Being a State Representative comes with many of the same responsibilities and Jessie feels as if her experience within her community volunteering makes her a great candidate.
One of the biggest issues facing Jessie’s district is the lack of funding towards education. She told us that in Missouri, the state changed teaching requirements and required teachers to have less certifications than before. This means that instead of increasing funding towards the program, the state chose to lower their standards. She even told us that some Missouri residents will drive to border states like Iowa or Illinois to make more money teaching out of state instead of their own district and state. Jessie wants to make sure that schools get enough funding so that they can keep more residents working in their home state.
If Jessie is elected to the House of Representatives, she wants to see a future where there is affordable healthcare, less children in foster care, more funding for education, and more protection for unions.
Jessie also involves herself in her community by being the Township Committee Woman for the Democratic Central Committee in her county. She even served on the Herculaneum Park Board for over two years! One of her favorite things about her community is an accessible playground called Kade’s playground that allows children of all abilities to play. She told us that people come from hours away to play there and it’s a special place for her and her community members to be united. Jessie’s career has allowed her to help with many different types of causes. She’s volunteered at non profits, recycling centers, food pantries, and more. This work inspired her to volunteer with the League of Women Voters, attend citizenship ceremonies, help register voters, and help inform voters so that they can vote with confidence.
Jessie says that she no longer wants to see candidates going unopposed. Too many people don’t feel like their vote makes a difference—and Jessie wants to change that. Gerrymandering has made it difficult for Democrats in her area to gain candidacy and she wants to represent the people who need a diplomatic leader who will work to really get things done.
A fun fact about Jessie is that she has three pets who are her best friends—three cats and one huge 90 pound husky mix!