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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: Kathy Steinhoff

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: Columbia Public School teacher Kathy Steinhoff is running unopposed for state representative of Missouri's 45th district. In this episode, we'll hear Steinhoff's conversation with KBIA is Melanie Oliva?

Melanie Oliva: What motivated you to run for this office?

Kathy Steinhoff: That's an interesting question. I did not have political aspirations. But as a, I guess, just my path kind of led naturally to this. So as not to surprise to many people. I was a teacher and taught for 34 years and Columbia Public Schools. And I just retired in May. And during that time, I was very involved with my union, including being president of that union for six years, and also being on the negotiation team. And so even as a teacher, my, my skill set, and my experiences were really expanding in that union role. And so when it came time for people to start putting their names in the hat, to me, it just felt like taking that advocacy for students and for educators to the next level and advocating for all Missourians.

Melanie Oliva: Your experience as an educator as a teacher, how has that translated to your running position now?

Kathy Steinhoff: Well, I would say that one of the problems that I see with many people is that they have limited experiences. And those experiences tend to frame their outlook for everyone else. And so what they think is hardship is nowhere near what hardship can be, when they may be thinking, oh, I want to buy a new car, because I'm tired of my old car, that's not the same as somebody else who is finding out that that night that they're going to not have a place to live, and they're going to have to live out of their car, and they have three young kids in the backseat. I mean, that is hardship. I feel like as being a teacher, when you see all gamuts of our society, especially in a public school setting, you start to understand that you start to understand early, I mean, I feel like earlier than other professions, you start to understand what white privilege means. You start to understand how our biases, really change outcomes for students. And we can extend that to our communities.

Melanie Oliva: You state, you will go to Jefferson City to protect public education, combat the gun violence epidemic and fight for social equity for all Missourians. If elected, what is first on your agenda from that list?

Kathy Steinhoff: Well, keep in mind that I'm going to be part of the super minority, likely hopefully, our election might change that a little bit. So my ability to go down there, you know, riding in on a horse and saving the day is, is not not a realistic approach to this. So I think a lot of it is going to be kind of working defense, trying to make sure that anything else that's coming our way that we can kind of soften the edges and kind of alert other legislators who might feel differently to the impact of some of the decisions that they're making. I think that that's where like the social justice piece comes in. Because we've seen over the past few years, some legislation, I'm going to assume positive intent that had unintended consequences on certain parts and portions of our population. So I want to be somebody who's really aware of who these laws are impacting and that sometimes it's impacting people that were were never even part of the motivation for that law. As far as public education goes, I'm going to vote for more funding, and I'm going to promote more funding every chance I can get.

Ellie Lin: That was KBIA's Melanie Oliva and Kathy Steinhoff, who's running for state representative of Missouri's 45th district. Stay tuned for more candidate conversations airing on KBIA leading up to Election Day on November 8.

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