State Reps. Swan, Rehder to square off for Missouri Senate seat

Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Holly Rehder

State Reps. Kathy Swan and Holly Rehder will battle for a state Senate seat next year.

Kathy Swan

The two Republican lawmakers are seeking to replace state Sen. Wayne Wallingford, R-Cape Girardeau, for the 27th District Senate seat.

Wallingford is term limited and so are the two House members. Under state law, lawmakers are limited to serving eight years in the House and eight years in the Senate.

Swan and Rehder are nearing the end of their fourth terms and cannot seek re-election to their House seats.

Swan and Rehder said Monday it is not uncommon for state representatives from the same party to compete for the same Senate seat.

While the filing period does not open until next year, both Swan and Rehder said they are running for the Senate seat because they want to continue to serve residents of Southeast Missouri.

The district encompasses six counties: Cape Girardeau, Scott, Bollinger, Perry, Madison and Wayne.

If recent history continues its conservative trends, the winner of the August 2020 GOP primary in the heavily Republican district likely will become the area’s next state senator.

Both Swan and Rehder stressed their legislative experience.

Swan said, as a legislator, she has focused on eduction, health care and workforce development.

“I have been able to connect the dots between education and the workforce, and that is what we really needed to do,” she said.

Swan, who, along with her husband, owns a wireless communications company, said a better-trained workforce is key to attracting new businesses and industries to Missouri.

She added she wants to help enable communities to be “more business friendly and provide the education and training that our employers need.”

Swan said she has been described by others as “a problem solver, solution finder and a pragmatic thinker.”

The Cape Girardeau lawmaker said, “I, fortunately, had the opportunity to make some real positive changes and look forward to continuing to do so.”

“What I have tried to do is remove barriers from school children, from workers needing a better job, from people trying to get their businesses started and maintain our small businesses,” she said.

Swan said she has championed and passed more than 21 pieces of legislation to increase access to health care, protect children, regulate abortion clinics and “positively impact” students.

She is the architect of a 2016 law requiring high school students to pass a civics exam to graduate. She said it’s important for students to understand “how this country was formed and why.”

Rehder, who lives near Scott City, said she has enjoyed serving as a state representative.

“I still have a lot of policies that I feel are important to us in Southeast Missouri that I don’t think I will have done in the next two years,” she said in explaining her decision to run for a Senate seat.

As the owner, along with her husband, of a cable telecommunications contracting company, Rehder has championed business-friendly legislation. She continues to lead the effort to repeal a state law requiring prevailing wages be paid for public-works projects.

She said she also is concerned about the effect of tax credits on the state budget.

The Scott County Republican has pushed for several years for legislation establishing a prescription-drug-monitoring program to address the opioid epidemic.

Rehder’s bill would require pharmacists to log prescriptions into a database, which doctors and other pharmacists could access to check on whether patients are pill shopping.

Missouri is the only state without such a program.

Rehder remains concerned about overall drug abuse in Missouri.

“Over 6,000 children are removed from substance-abuses homes every year in Missouri,” she said.

Rehder said she continues to concentrate on her job as state representative.

“I am not going to be worried about the next election,” she said. “I am going to be worried about making good policy.”

She said, “I am scrappy and I am a fighter, and, while I am there, you are going to know it.”

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