SheildsODellPRV

In the race for the 11th District State House seat, a well-funded incumbent will square off against the same candidate she faced in 2018.

Republican Brenda Shields is finishing up her first term in the Missouri House and points to her legislative accomplishments as a reason to keep going.

Democrat Brady O’Dell said this year he is running, in part, because of his 1-year-old child.

“When all this COVID stuff started happening, I had to decide to take her out of preschool until they put in safety measures, and temperature checks and all these things,” he said. “I also had to find new sources of diapers and wet wipes because all the panic buying and everything.

“And so all this is going on, and we’re not really getting any direction from our leaders,” O’Dell said. “And that’s what causes panic: unclear, concise direction and a plan to calm people down.”

O’Dell, a union member, also touched on issues related to workers’ rights.

“We have a lot of problems with our legislators bringing up right to work constantly,” said O’Dell, a 38-year-old pasting operator at Clarios. “Like every two years, it seems like they try and get it passed again and again, even though the voters say no.”

Shields points to her record following her first term as a state representative.

“One bill I passed was related to teacher externships,” she said. “I think it will make a significant difference for our teachers and for our students as they prepare them for their future.”

Shields also passed a bill relating to compensating Missourians who were first responders during the 9/11 attacks.

“I think that overall I’ve been down there to add value to the legislature and to share my opinion and be able to to help people see how certain bills will affect St. Joseph,” said Shields, 58.

But it was the committees she was on that has brought on more clout, she said.

“I think that I’ve protected our interest in Jefferson City by serving on the budget committee,” Shields said. “And serving as the vice chair on the Appropriations Committee.”

Mark Zinn can be reached at mark.zinn@knpn.com. Follow him on Twitter: @KNPNZinn.