Interview with Rep. Cheri Toalson Reisch, Republican candidate for the 44th House District
COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Republican Rep. Cheri Toalson Reisch is hoping voters will send her back to Jefferson City for one final House term.
Reisch is running for her fourth term representing parts of Boone County in the General Assembly. It would be her final term under Missouri's term limit law.
Her district, which used to take in much of northern Boone County and part of Columbia, has been redrawn. Now the 44th forms a backward "L" around the eastern side of Columbia, stretching to the county's northern border and taking in all of reliably conservative southern Boone County.
Marissa Hollowed: Why don't we start off by having you tell the viewers a little bit about yourself?
Rep. Cheri Toalson Reisch: So I'm a seventh-generation Boone Countian and my family's been here over 200 years since before Missouri was a state. I have children, grandchildren. I've owned my own small business for 27 years. I'm currently a legal assistant office manager here in Columbia in a very busy law office. And I've been state rep for six years and looking forward to my fourth and final term.
Hollowed: What do you consider your biggest accomplishment as a legislator thus far?
Reisch: So it's not always about getting your name on a bill, it's that you help get good legislation passed. I think my greatest accomplishment has been customer service to my constituents that come to me with problems, whether it's a tax return, or getting food stamp issues, or whatever their issue is that we can solve the problem. I like to be a problem solver. I have passed several bills and I'm excited that we just during the special session had the largest state income tax cut in history. And that will put money back in people's pockets. And it cut the lower income tax brackets completely away. So I think people know how to spend their money better than government.
Hollowed: You've been critical of Columbia Public Schools. What changes would you like to see in the public school system?
Reisch: A lot of it is communication and transparency. You know, and it's not just Columbia. It's a statewide problem. And there's a lot of schools that are just not listening to the parents. And they're getting a lot of woke ideologies into the school district. They're not focusing on the basics. Columbia, specifically, test scores have dropped since 2015. So they can't just blame COVID. But nationwide, the report just came out that scores are down. And we need to get back to the basics. And there needs to be more communication and transparency between school boards, administrations and the parents.
Hollowed: Boone County will have a few Democratic lawmakers after this election. What will you do to work with Democrats in Jefferson City?
Reisch: So I've already been doing that for the last six years, I've sponsored a bill for Missouri Task Force 1, it was completely bipartisan, passed in the House with zero "no" votes. I work on a lot of committees and with Democrats, and so it's a team effort. You have to find common ground and you have to work together. Just because Republicans are a supermajority, we still have public hearings and transparency and input from all sides.
Hollowed: How do you think the new shape of your district will affect the election?
Reisch: So I feel very good about being able to serve in my fourth and final term. I'm a lifelong Boone County resident, so I'm familiar with the entire Boone County. I will continue to serve the Hallsville and Centralia areas, and I'm looking forward to serving all of southern Boone County.
Hollowed: Anything that we missed that you think is important for our viewers to know about you?
Reisch: So I am the official ambassador for the Missouri State Treasurer's Office for unclaimed property. I've returned over a million dollars to thousands of people. So if you want to know if you have money being held by the state, contact me and I'll be glad to help you get it.
Hollowed: Anything else that we haven't covered today that you think is important?
Reisch: Education. I think the state's role is primarily infrastructure such as roads and bridges, but also public safety. So we need to back our blue, we need more support for law enforcement, whether it's at the state, county or city level throughout the state of Missouri.