MU doctoral student Hallie Thompson announced her candidacy Wednesday for the Democratic nomination for the 4th U.S. Congressional District.
Thompson’s involvement in advocacy for graduate students leads her to believe that many people might feel invisible to their elected representatives, she said.
Thompson, a native of High Point in Moniteau County, served as president of the MU Graduate Professional Council for two years and as director of legislative affairs for the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students.
”I did a lot of advocating for graduate students at the federal level and serving their interests, not only going to their offices and talking with legislators, but also training graduate students to advocate for themselves and identify areas of importance,” she said of her latter position.
This, and her experiences growing up in a rural area, inspired her to run for Congress. Thompson’s key priorities are access to elected representatives, health care and broadband internet.
“I’ve been a part of a family where we had difficulty getting health care as self-employed farmers,” Thompson said. “I learned early on what it’s like to be or feel ignored.”
While Thompson served as president of the Graduate Professional Council, the group saw changes to internal operations and tackled issues such as health insurance, increasing stipends and child care options for graduate students.
Thompson, who is studying plant science, said she values education and research funding and would like to promote evidence-based policy.
“My primary interest in science is how the discoveries that we make affect those around us and how we’re able to see an increase in quality of life or success of people in our community,” Thompson said. “And I’ve seen the frustration surrounding not being successful and not being able to transition some of these discoveries into reality.”
Thompson will first face Renee Hoagenson in the Democratic primary in August. Hoagenson had raised $63,644 through Sept. 30, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. The deadline for filing year-end reports for 2017 was Wednesday.
Incumbent Vicky Hartzler, who has represented the 4th District in the U.S. House since 2010, is being challenged by Jenna Marie Bourgeois and John Webb in the Republican primary. Hartzler had raised $379,562 by Sept. 30, while Bourgeois and Webb had raised $494 and $2,705, respectively.
Thompson acknowledged she’s behind on fundraising.
“So the reality is that Vicky Hartzler has almost $400,000 that she’s fundraised, and I’m really only now getting started,” Thompson said. “I’m really excited and have a lot of plans for events and fundraisers and engaging people throughout the process. It takes a lot of money to run a campaign, and I think that is going to be a very challenging aspect of this process.”
Thompson plans to visit each of the 24 counties in the district to talk with residents and learn more about their needs.
“I think that having lived here and being from a farm here, I have the groundwork, and I can build on that groundwork to help the 4th Congressional District,” Thompson said. “I want to benefit those communities and empower voters during the campaign, and I’m going to be working really hard to meet a lot of people.”
Thompson said she has always had an interest in holding public office but began seriously considering a run for the House of Representatives over the past few years.
“Whenever I was a kindergartener, you know they always ask: ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ Well, I wanted to be president,” Thompson said. “Since, I’ve realized that that is not something that I will probably want to do. But throughout my education and the past 23 years since I said I want to be president, always in the back of my mind I have thought about the role of service in my career, whatever I’m doing.”