State Rep. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, said he has leased a house near Gerald in anticipation of running for re-election in the recently redrawn House District 61.
State law requires a representative to live within the district they represent for one year prior to an election.
Schatz, whose primary residence is located outside of Sullivan, said he rented a home on Highway ZZ just prior to August of this year in order to be eligible to seek re-election.
“A lot can happen before February but right now my plan is to run for re-election in the 61st,” Schatz said Tuesday. “I believe I’m in a position to be eligible to run for the office I currently hold. I’ve leased a home in the district and it is my intention to meet the residency requirement.”
Schatz easily won the race for the district in November 2012 after previously representing the 111st District.
Schatz ran for election in the new district because statewide redistricting placed both Schatz’s residence, and that of 98th District Rep. Dave Hinson, also a Republican, into the new 119th District.
The 61st House District covers northwest Franklin County, including roughly three-fourths of the city of Washington, northern Gasconade County and a portion of Osage County.
Schatz said that while he has not spent the night at the leased home, he is there frequently.
“If I have to stay there physically in order to meet the residency requirement, that is what I will do,” Schatz explained. “I also have a farm with a house on it in Washington County and another place in Independence and I spend time at those places as well. During the session, I spend nearly five months in Jefferson City so I already split time between a lot of places. The key is I made sure I had a place in the district prior to August of this year to meet the residency requirement.”
Schatz said that the redistricting process was a major disruption to the Legislature and to him personally.
“None of this has been very easy and it has been especially hard on my wife because we have been in limbo since when the redistricting was announced. I am a lifelong resident of Franklin County and I think I understand the people here and can do a good job of representing their interests in the Legislature. I’ve met a lot of people from Gasconade County and I’m getting to know the folks in Osage County,” he said.
Schatz said he was motivated to run for re-election — which he said required him to move into the district — by the fact that he feels he is in a position to accomplish legislative priorities for the people of this area.
“Part of my intention to run again is that I’m four years into this term-limited world of politics and I’d like to serve another four,” he explained. “It takes four years to really learn the ropes and build the relationships it takes to get things done. I’ve done that and now I think I can make some of the things that I set out to do, mainly bring some commonsense, business-orientated principles to state government.”