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Sen. Karla Eslinger’s Legislative Column for Jan. 7, 2021

Humbled to Serve

On Wednesday, Jan. 6, I walked into the Missouri Senate chamber, raised my right hand and took the oath of office to uphold the Constitution and faithfully perform my duties. Standing in that majestic room, with its marble columns, stained glass windows, decorative skylights and so much history, I was filled both with awe and a profound sense of gratitude.

My time in the Missouri House of Representatives prepared me for the legislative process, but in the Senate chamber on opening day I felt the weight of the office I was assuming. As one of 34 members in the Missouri Senate, I answer directly to about 180,000 Missouri citizens. I understand that the decisions I make in this chamber will affect every resident of the eight counties I serve, as well as all Missourians.

For those who don’t know me, allow me to introduce myself. I am a mom, a grandmother, a wife, an educator and a Christian. I have been married to my husband, David, for 39 years. We live on the family farm and have operated a small business for more than 35 years. David and I have two daughters, and both have followed my path into the classroom and become teachers.

Raised by a single mom, under less than ideal circumstances, I learned early in life that hard work and an unwavering faith are key to success and happiness. I made my own way, working while getting my education. I became a school teacher and witnessed the struggles and triumphs of hard-working families through the children that passed through my classrooms, and later feeling the lifeblood of entire communities as I supervised school districts.

I bring these lessons and experiences to the Missouri Senate, where I hope to always keep the real-world worries and joys of my neighbors in mind as I participate in crafting laws for the state of Missouri. I’ve never forgotten where I came from, and my heart will always be back at home as I occupy a seat in Missouri’s highest legislative chamber.

My faith guides my principles. I am pro-life and pro-gun. I am a fiscal conservative and vow to demand better management and greater accountability of government agencies. I will oppose red tape and bureaucracy, and fight to keep taxes low. I believe jobs and growth are the best path for prosperity, and am convinced the best thing government can do is get out of the way. I will be a champion for our public schools. I believe we can never fully repay the debt we owe to our veterans. I believe reforming our costly Medicaid system and making it more efficient is critical, especially now that voters have asked us to expand the program. I will be the friend of families struggling to stay ahead of medical bills, but the big drug companies may not like me much. I will forever defend our farmers, and do all I can to preserve the rural way of life.

Those are my views, but my highest priority will be to the people I represent. I cannot begin to express how humbled and grateful I am for the opportunity to serve in the Senate. I understand that although I did not win over every voter, I have an obligation to represent all the residents of the 33rd District. I won’t always get it right, but I’m counting on you to let me know when I get off track. Please stay in touch. Send me emails or call my office and let me know what’s on your mind. Help me to be a better senator by sharing your concerns, your hopes and your prayers.

It is my honor to serve the residents of Douglas, Howell, Oregon, Ozark, Ripley, Texas, Webster and Wright counties in the Missouri Senate. If you need more information about Missouri state government, or if I can help you in any way, please call my office at 573-751-1882, or visit my webpage at www.senate.mo.gov/mem33.