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Republican Cindy O’Laughlin wins re-election in District 18 defeating former Mexico mayor, Ayanna Shivers

A "Vote Here" with an American flag on it sits outside a local Columbia polling location.
Rebecca Smith
/
KBIA

Republican Cindy O’Laughlin was re-elected as state senator for District 18. She beat out her opponent, Democrat Ayanna Shivers, with 75% of the vote.

District 18, encompassing Northeast Missouri, used to be a Democratic stronghold. Wes Shoemeyer was the last Democratic state Senator to represent the district; he was elected 16 years ago in 2006. Now, O’Laughlin joins the all-Republican legislative representation in northeast Missouri.

Cindy O’Laughlin

Cindy O'Laughlin
Cindy O’Laughlin.jpg

This will be O’Laughlin’s second and final term after first being elected to the state senate in 2018. She says she’s looking forward to the future, as the last two years in the legislature were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“That, you know, created a lot of problems within the Senate for getting anything done,” O’Laughlin said. “So, this next four years, I just like to continue my work on education reform, and looking for ways to help strengthen families.”

O’Laughlin serves on the Missouri Senate Committee on Education and the General Assembly Joint Comittee on Education. She ran on a platform of smaller government, better infrastructure and making Missouri business-friendly.

St. Louis Public Radio reports that O’Laughlin will also be the next majority leader of the Missouri Senate. She will be responsible for deciding which bills receive consideration on the floor in 2023.

"O’Laughlin will be the No. 2 Republican in the Senate behind Caleb Rowden of Columbia, who won the president pro tem post on Thursday," Reporter Jason Rosenbaum reports.

Ayanna Shivers

Ayanna Shivers
SHIVERS.jpg

O’Laughlin’s opponent in the race was Ayanna Shivers, the former mayor of Mexico, Missouri. Shivers was the first Black woman to hold the position, and has been a longtime member of the Mexico City Council.

She also works as a pastor and educator and is currently the director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at Lincoln University. She ran on a platform of being a good neighbor, focusing less on party politics and more on community-specific needs.

Shivers says her loss is indicative of how Missourians can get swept up in party politics instead of voting for legislators who will address pressing community needs.

“Common sense and civility is some of the things that I really wanted to bring to that bring to the table, and that's something that I don't think we're seeing right now,” Shivers said. “We're seeing a lot of bickering, we're seeing a lot of arguing that I don't think that is healthy for us as people in the state or in our nation.”

Katelynn McIlwain is a graduate student at the University of Missouri. She produces stories and anchors for KBIA.
Ellie Lin is a junior Journalism student at the University of Missouri. She’s studying Cross-Platform Editing and Production with an emphasis in Multimedia, UX and UI Design.