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Each election year, KBIA sits down with local candidates to hear what they have to say on their own terms. Some of these candidates you might see on TV every day. Others might be familiar by name only, if that. But KBIA interviews them all so that you can be informed when you go to the polls in November.

Candidate Conversations: Doug Mann

Two speech bubbles on a purple background. There is a brown and gold podium in front of the speech bubbles with a spotlight on it. At the top of the image, it says "candidate conversations" in all-caps.
Ellie Lin

Ellie Lin: Douglas Mann is running for state representative of Missouri's 50th District against Republican James Musgraves. He's a civil rights lawyer here in Columbia and a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Law. Mann sat down in conversation with KBIA's Briana Heaney.

Briana Heaney: What made you want to run for this office?

Doug Mann: So I've always been politically engaged and civically engaged when I was young. For many years of my formative childhood, my mom was single. But she was also very politically engaged. So I was that little kid that got dragged around to city council meetings, protests, things along those lines when I was about like, four or five years old. So from a young age, I learned the importance of being politically and civically engaged.

Briana Heaney: So what are some of your experiences that led up to you running for this office?

Doug Mann: After graduating college, I taught high school history and civics on the southwest side of Chicago. So one of my main platform pieces is education. And I feel as though being a former high school educator gives me a unique perspective on the issues facing teachers. For example, when it comes to being under resourced when I was teaching, I had a little like roll cart, because we didn't have our own classrooms. And on that roll cart was a projector. But my projector was being held together by duct tape. And one day, it just stopped working right in the middle of class, which is very frustrating. But I was able to put together a GoFundMe and luckily some very nice person in Texas donated the money that I needed to buy a new projector. But the reality is that teachers shouldn't have to put together GoFundMe is in order to get the resources that they need for their classrooms.

Briana Heaney: What are some of your favorite aspects of Missouri politics?

Doug Mann: Really, I think my favorite part of the whole political process is talking to voters. The people of Missouri are very passionate about the issues. And everyone has their own little niche issue that's important to them based off of you know, their life experience. Whether or not you know, like they have kids,

Briana Heaney: What makes you the best candidate for the job?

Doug Mann: So there's a couple of things I would say number one is empathy. I've had a variety of life experiences that I think give me the ability to be empathetic towards the needs of the people in the constituents. Like I said, I grew up with a single mom for a large portion of my childhood. And we experienced a lot of financial hardship, bankruptcy things along those lines. And then my mom did come out as a lesbian when I was about 10 or 11 years old. And in a small town, in rural America, that's not the easiest thing to do. So I saw the vitriol that can be experienced from that. And then like I said, being a teacher, being an attorney, those experiences have given me a different perspective that I think allows me to be more empathetic than a lot of other people towards the needs and problems that people are facing.

Briana Heaney: That was KBIA's Briana Heaney and Douglas man who's running for state representative of Missouri's 50th district. Stay tuned for more candidate conversations airing on KBIA leading up to Election Day on November 8.

Briana Heaney is a senior at the University of Missouri’s journalism school studying cross-platform editing and producing and minoring in economics.
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