Candidates running for the 36th District seat
By Kathy Feist
Voters in the 36th District will head to the polls on November 5 to vote for a new state representative. Former Missouri State Representative DaRon McGee resigned in May due to scandal. The 36th District covers State Line Rd to east of Longview Rd, and approximately 435 to Martha Truman Rd….basically the Red Bridge/Hickman Mills area.
Mark Sharp, 33, grew up in the 36th District and attended the Hickman Mills School District. He has a degree in Business Administration from Clark Atlanta University and an online teaching degree. He has taught at public schools around Dallas, Tex., and now teaches at KIPP Endeavor charter school near 18th & Vine. Sharp played baseball for two independent leagues. He is the son of former city councilman and state legislator John Sharp (who is also a columnist for this paper).
Priority Issue – Education
“The reason I wanted to get into office is not because of my dad,” says Sharp. “As a teacher I realized my reach could only go so far.In the Hickman Mills area, I could have more impact as an elected official than I can as a teacher.” Sharp would like to obtain funding for public schools. “Conservatives claim that schools are fully funded, but they have changed the definition of what it actually means to be ‘fully funded.’ They have dialed it back.” It is Sharp’s goal to be appointed to the Education Committee if elected.
Sharp is no stranger to gun violence. He lost his half-sister to gun violence and his best friend to violence. He plans to follow former state representative DaRon McGee’s steps and re-introduce Blair’s Law, which would prohibit celebratory gun fire. He points out that 290 shell casings were found at one house during New Year’s Eve this year. “I get having a gun, but not like that,” he says. He would like to see more gun laws. “I’m not against guns. I just want people to use them the right way,” he says.
Sharp is Pro Choice. “What a woman does with her body is up to her,” he says. “Nobody leaves an abortion clinic happy about it. It’s an emotional, devastating thing that they must live with for the rest of their lives. But I don’t want to make that decision for them.”
Town Hall Meetings
Sharp will continue the quarterly town hall meetings, community train trips to Jefferson City and women’s defense classes that former State Rep. McGee initiated.
Republican Write-In Candidate
This is Nola Wood’s fifth time running as a Republican candidate. However, it is her first time running as a write-in candidate. Wood missed the deadline to file as the Republican candidate by only minutes in Jefferson City. Wood, 68, was born in St. Louis, and moved to the Kansas City metro area in the mid 80’s. She has lived at Terrace Lake Gardens since 2001, raising her three children as a single mother. In the past she has been a realtor and insurance underwriter.
Priority Issue – Property taxes
The increase in property taxes in Jackson County is an issue of interest for Wood. As a former realtor in the 1980s when mortgage rates were raised 18 to 20 percent, she understands how devastating the ripple effect of bad public policy can be. “A lot of people lost everything they had worked for,” she recalled. “I’m concerned this tax assessment debacle could be similar.” She would like to be a part of the state legislature’s Special Interim Committee on Oversight of Local Taxes.
Wood supports school choice, a term that can mean a voucher program to attend private schools, an open school enrollment, or the creation of charter and magnet schools. “Respectful competition improves the schools and helps everyone,” she says. Wood homeschooled all three of her children who grew up in the Hickman Mills school district.
Wood says she abhors violence of any kind but supports the right of the individual to protect themselves. She would like to see laws improved to help care for those with mental illness. She would also support funding for increased staffing at local police departments.
Wood is Pro Life. “Most people in this district are, but their views have been overlooked by representatives,” she says.
Green Party Candidate
Roberta “Bob” Voorhees
Roberta “Bob” Voorhees, 34, has lived in the Hickman Mills area for the past seven years. She was raised in a small town, Rochester, Indiana, and joined the Army in 2009. She trained at Ft. Leonardwood and “fell in love with Missouri.” After 15 months deployement in Iraq, Voorhees returned to Missouri to live in Kansas City with a friend. She currently works for KC Dynamic Wiring. She enjoys this part of the city because of the high density of trees and low density of population. Voorhees, who goes by the first name Bob, reveals that she is gay, not trans.
Voorhees recognizes education is a huge issue in the Hickman Mills School District, which she believes lacks funding. “Nothing kicks back here,” she says, referring to tax incentives in the area. “Cerner is not doing what it should be,” she says. ”When you come into a neighborhood, you should charge the neighborhood up.” She also points out that the boundaries drawn for the 36th District appear designed to pull in less revenue than surrounding districts.
As a veteran of war, Voorhees is not in favor of stricter gun control laws. “You have to change the constitution. You can’t have laws pop up here and there,” she says. She would rather see the nation as a whole do something about mental illness and the wage gap, both of which contribute to crime, in her opinion. Having grown up in a family with little money, Voorhees says she knows first hand “people do desperate things when they don’t have money.”
Voorhees is Pro Choice.
Voorhees believes it’s time to mitigate the effects of climate change. “It’s real,” she says.