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Candidate Shawna Ackerson

Meet Shawna Ackerson, running for Missouri House of Representatives, District 161

District 161 includes the city of Joplin within Jasper County, Missouri.

Shawna is a lifelong Joplin resident, a volunteer, a graduate student, a mother, and an advocate for equity and equal rights for all.

For many years, Shawna has spent her Saturdays volunteering with the homeless and fundraising for Next Steps Joplin, a local homeless support group. She also cherishes time with her family, especially caring for her mother, who has mental disabilities. As a supporter of many charities and organizations, Shawna’s life is centered around giving back to her community and supporting her loved ones.

Shawna decided to run for office because she was concerned that her district lacked a Democratic candidate, leaving many residents unrepresented. She believes firmly in the importance of providing voters with a choice and felt compelled to step forward to ensure that every voice has representation. Women’s rights are especially important to her, and she strongly feels that a woman should represent these crucial concerns in local government. Shawna’s deep understanding of her district’s needs, shaped by her lifelong residency in Joplin, fuels her determination to advocate effectively for her community.

Beyond women’s rights, Shawna highlights several important issues facing her district. She emphasizes the need for quality and accessible health care, noting shortages of dental and general healthcare providers, especially those accepting Missouri Medicaid. She also advocates for expanding Medicaid coverage and making medicines more affordable for working class residents. Transportation is another key issue; she envisions bringing Amtrak service to Joplin to improve green transportation options, create jobs, and boost the economy. Housing is another significant concern, with a shortage of affordable options for low-income, middle-class, and working-class residents. Shawna suggests increasing government housing and lowering barriers to the current housing market.

If Shawna is successful in her efforts, the future of her community members will be significantly improved. Public schools would receive adequate funding, leading to better education for children, and homelessness would be eradicated. Environmental issues such as pollution would be addressed, creating a cleaner and healthier environment. Women and LGBTQ+ individuals would enjoy equal rights, ensuring a fair and inclusive society. Political divisions would diminish, fostering a cooperative spirit rather than party conflict. Teachers would be better supported, reducing their need to work multiple jobs and allowing them to focus on educating children effectively. Overall, she envisions a more educated, equitable, and harmonious community.

Outside of politics, Shawna is a professional baker and was once a small business owner! She originally started baking cookies around the time when her son was born and eventually expanded into a local baking business. Today, Shawna volunteers for “Icing Smiles,” an organization that provides baked goods to terminally ill children, fulfilling their cake wishes for special occasions. She says that it is a joy to be able to provide this service for families in need! On top of that, Shawna is pursuing a master’s degree in Justice Studies. Even with all of her different passions and missions, she is able to be an honors student in her masters program.

Shawna’s dedication to volunteering, learning about pressing issues, and advocating for a better future truly highlights her commitment to serving her community. Her candidacy for the House reflects her lifelong devotion to Joplin, offering hope for a future where every resident can prosper and reach their fullest potential in life!

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