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House minority leader first Democrat to launch campaign for Missouri governor

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(The Center Square) – Missouri House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield, launched her campaign for governor on Monday, emphasizing a wide range of issues and drawing distinctions between herself and three Republican candidates.

“I’m a mom, I’m a social worker and a leader who builds bridges to make change,” Quade told supporters in downtown Springfield, according to a video recorded by KY3. “Missouri has never seen a governor like me.”

Quade, 37, is term limited and was twice elected minority leader in 2020 and 2022. In a video announcing her campaign, she said she was the first in her family to graduate from high school and she then earned a bachelor of social work degree from Missouri State University in Springfield.

Quade is the lone Democrat running while Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe, Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft and Sen. Bill Eigel of Weldon Spring announced their candidacies for the Republican nomination. Ashcroft didn’t post any response to Quade’s announcement on social media while Kehoe and Eigel criticized Democratic Party policies. Eigel also criticized Kehoe for supporting a gas tax on social media and current Republican Gov. Mike Parson for “center-left, big government policies.”

“This is why folks hate politicians,” Eigel wrote. “Mike Kehoe voted for every tax increase and bigger government spending budget he ever saw,” Eigel posted. “… Gonna be a heckuva Dem primary between him and Crystal Quade.”

Earlier, Kehoe posted on social media he never met his father and his mother worked three jobs to raise his five siblings. In her announcement video, Quade mentioned she was raised by a single mother for years before she married her stepfather.

“We had no money,” Kehoe posted on social media. “I didn’t make excuses. My siblings and I had to work hard to support my mom and we earned the opportunity to achieve the American Dream. That’s the great thing about our country that the progressive left wants to destroy.”

Quade emphasized economic issues, health care and education as areas she will address in her campaign.

“I want this campaign to be about pocketbook issues,” Quade said. “I want this campaign to be about our plans to strengthen our public schools to make healthcare more affordable and accessible. We have to get better childcare in every single corner of our state. While my opponents give tax cuts to big corporations and billionaires, the rest of us are figuring out how to pay for things that are too expensive.”

Quade reminded her supporters how Republicans attempted to strip funding away from Medicaid after Missouri voters approved it. She also said abortion, birth control and reproductive rights will be prominent issues.

“Missourians want freedom,” Quade said. “The freedom to make our own decisions. The freedom to choose a future for our families. Make no mistake, freedom is on the ballot.”

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