Term-limited out of her Senate seat, Maria Chappelle-Nadal is facing three newcomers as she tries to move to the House for one final term.
Whoever wins the Democratic primary in House District 86 won’t face any opposition in November. The district includes University City, Wellston, Vinita Park, Pagedale and Hanley Hills.
Chappelle-Nadal, 43, spent six years in the Missouri House before switching to the Senate and would only be eligible to serve a single two-year term if elected. But she says she’ll continue to advocate for public schools and the environment if voters send her back to Jefferson City one more time.
“I have the experience,” she said. “I know what it’s like when you have a super-majority against you, and I’m still able to get things done in a Republican [controlled] legislature.”
Chappelle-Nadal garnered national headlines when she took part in demonstrations in 2014 after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by then-Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.
In 2018, she was censured by the Senate for replying to a Facebook post in which she wished that someone would “assassinate” President Donald Trump. She later deleted the message and apologized but refused calls to resign from office.
None of the other three contenders have held elected office but are touting their candidacies as a chance to bring a “fresh approach” to representing the district in Jefferson City.
Farrakhan Shegog, 26, works as an aircraft inspector and quality-control expert. He embraces his age as an advantage.
“There’s a large demographic of young people that are just being actively involved in this political process, and I think that it’s good to have a young person representing this demographic in Jefferson City,” he said.
Shegog said he’ll advocate for education, workforce development, public safety and health care for all, if elected.
“[I want to] be a voice and a token of inspiration for the countless young people who are just frustrated and upset with the political chaos that’s taking place in Jefferson City and Washington, D.C.,” he said.
On the other end of the age spectrum is Gloria Nickerson, 64, a recently retired communications worker. She says she can give the district her full attention.
“I’ve been very active in my community — all of the issues that the voters are concerned with, I’m already working with those,” she said. “I don’t need to be elected to survive – I’m already retired and doing very well.”
Nickerson said if elected, she’ll focus her attention on assistance for seniors, health-care services, reducing poverty and especially improving public education.
“We have two public-school districts – University City and Normandy,” she said. “We need to promote early childhood education for all children within the district.”
Bobby Shields, 56, is also concerned about youth in the community. He’s centering his campaign on helping them find jobs.
“We have too many children that are in our neighborhoods, walking the streets, so I want to get them jobs,” he said. “A lot of them have done something where they have a misdemeanor or a felony, and they’ve lost hope – so I want to bring something to share with them, to encourage them that we can give them a second chance.”
Shields also wants to promote legislation that would create more opportunities for the homeless.
“Why can’t we contract with hotels, with jobs next to them, until they can find a home?” he said. “We have all these dilapidated homes and buildings – why can’t we teach them how to work in construction? The next state representative needs be really innovative, doing things different.”
The district is currently represented by Joe Adams, D-University City, who’s in his fourth year in the House. Instead of seeking re-election, he’s running for the Senate seat being vacated by Chappelle-Nadal.
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