An incumbent and a newcomer are vying for the state representative seat for the 119th district.
The Missourian spoke with incumbent Nate Tate-R and newcomer Marcie Nichols-D, and asked why they are running for office, what problems need to be addressed, what they hope to change or keep the same if elected, what is the most important issue facing the district and why should residents vote for them.
Tate, 39, was born and raised in St. Clair. He is married and they have three children. Tate is the director of technology and the chief corporate compliance officer at The Impact Group, which helps find jobs for those with disabilities.
He graduated from Maryville University with a bachelor’s in business and went to Fontbonne University for his MBA. He has served one two-year term as a state representative. In 2009, Tate was appointed as a St. Clair alderman and was re-elected in 2010. He served as an alderman until 2014. He is involved in New Hope Baptist Church.
Tate said he is running again for state rep to continue being a voice for the people.
“We all hear it where an individual gets elected to whatever office it is, they get there and then they forget about the little guy and they kind of have their own agenda,” he said.
“That’s not who I am, that’s not what I campaigned on. If you were to go out into the community and talk to pretty much anybody whether you’re Democrat or Republican, I would think you would see that I’ve done a fairly good job with representing everyone.”
Tate said the opioid problem is an issue that needs to be addressed in the district.
“The Legislature is aware of it, so there’s always bills filed every year to try to address that in some capacity,” he said.
Tate added that he if is re-elected, he will be refiling a bill that addresses synthetic urine.
“(The bill) doesn’t fix a drug issue per se, but it does fix an issue that is very present, especially in the workplace, where individuals are using synthetic urine to pass a drug test,” he said.
One of the biggest issues Missouri has as a whole is transportation infrastructure, according to Tate.
“That’s the biggest asset that our state has is our roads and bridges and our railways and our waterways. If we don’t do something to help improve them and to maintain them in a better fashion, then it’s going to start to crumble,” he said.
“When that happens, a lot of other things are going to crumble with it.”
If re-elected, he said he hopes to keep working with both Democrats and Republicans.
“It’s very important as a representative that you’re representing everybody, not just one party,” Tate said.
He added that he would continue his work on measures with the welfare system if re-elected.
“We actually did start the process this last session to try to start adding some accountability measures into it,” he said.“That’s something we’re going to try to revamp.”
Trying to market Franklin County as an area to live, work and play in is major issue he looks to tackle, according to Tate.
“I think we’re making progress, I think we need to keep our eye on the ball there and move forward in that direction,” he said.
Tate said voters should re-elect him for his campaign efforts on being a voice for the people.
“That’s something that I did in every decision I made while I was in Jeff City that last two years,” he said.
“That’s something I will absolutely continue to do for the next two years.”
Nichols, 63, was born and raised in Sullivan, and has family members who live in St. Clair. She has been married to her husband for 43 years and they have two children, as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
She went to East Central College one year before starting a 42-year career at Fidelity Communications, located in Sullivan. Nichols said she started as a telephone operator and worked her way up to vice president of customer care. She retired in 2016.
Nichols said she is mainly involved in political organizations including the Franklin County Democrats and the Four Rivers Progressive Women group, National Women’s Political Caucus, Women’s Leadership Coalition and Progress Women. When she was working, she added that she gave monetary donations to local organizations and schools.
This is her first time running for state representative and she has not held any other elected office positions. Nichols said she has always been interested in politics, now that she is retired, she has the time to run for office.
“I just thought I had a lot of ideas and I wanted to contribute,” she said when asked why she decided to run.
“The last few elections, there’s really never been anyone in my party that’s ran, so I felt people need a choice.”
A problem that needs to be addressed is expanding medicare, according to Nichols.
“Everyone I’ve talked to is so worried about insurance cost. I feel like we definitely need to address insurance cost,” she said.
Nichols added that education from primary through college should be fully funded including transportation. For high school students who do not want to go to college, should be able to obtain skills that will help them in the workforce, according to Nichols.
“Maybe getting them some sort of certificate so that when they graduate, they’ve got some experience,” she said.
If elected, Nichols said she hopes “to be able to walk across the aisle.”
“We’ve got a trifecta in not only national, but Missouri politics. I would like to be a voice that could talk to both sides and reach compromises, so the people in the 119th are heard.”
The most important issue facing Franklin County, Nichols said, is drug addiction.
“We have a horrible opioid problem that is just affecting so many things – homelessness, crime, the judicial system,” she said.
To help combat opioid addictions is to have long-term rehabilitation facilities, according to Nichols. She added that a nonviolent drug offender who was in jail having to post bail and get a lawyer are things they cannot afford.
“Once they get through it, not only are you bringing out a drug addict, but you’re bringing out a criminalized drug addict who has black marks for a long time. It’s just not working,” she said.
Nichols said people should vote for her because she is a good listener.
“I want to hear from all of the constituents in the 119th. I am retired, so I will be working for you fulltime,” she said.
She added that since she is retired, phone calls, emails and messages would be answered.