Voters in state Senate District 10 will have the choice between a Republican and Libertarian this November.
Holts Summit Republican Travis Fitzwater and Lincoln County Libertarian Catherine Dreher are vying for the seat Sen. Jeanie Riddle, a Mokane Republican, is leaving because of term limits. State senators can serve up to two four-year terms and have an annual salary of about $37,711.
Fitzwater, who is term-limited in the Missouri House, defeated four primary opponents in August to become the Republican Party nominee. Dreher was unopposed during the primary election season but has run for office three times before, none of which have been successful.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Fitzwater has been a Holts Summit resident and businessman since 2006.
If elected to the upper chamber, he said he's looking to build on progress he's made in the House since he was first elected in 2014. Fitzwater served on six committees during the most recent legislative session and chaired two: the House Ethics Committee and House Fiscal Review Committee.
He said he wants to focus on legislation that protects children, grows the state and its economy, and pushes back on federal overreach. The Republican Party should use its super majorities in each chamber to enact policies constituents expect, he said.
"It's becoming a more and more Republican state, and we need people who aren't just talking about getting things done but have proven they can get things done," Fitzwater said. "I feel like my House career has been filled with effective leadership, and I think I can take that to the Senate."
Fitzwater said he would do the "hard work" it takes to convince other legislators that his line of thinking is best for the state.
"I'm not going to go there to disrupt everything, to try to burn everything down," he said. "I think it's important that we have to persuade people of where we stand, why that's important and why it's best for Missouri."
Dreher, a home-school mother, said she got into the race because the state Libertarian Party asked her to, but she doesn't want to be just another name on the ballot.
If elected, Dreher said her goals would be to block government overreach and introduce legislation that promotes individual liberties and limited government. That may take the form of lower taxes and strengthened personal property rights, she said, or support for school choice and criminal justice reform.
"To be honest, if I didn't get a single bill passed and just prevented bad bills and prevented government from growing, I would feel like I had done my job," Dreher said.
She said the government's only role is to protect individual rights to life, liberty and property.
Dreher said identifying as a Libertarian puts her in a better position to find common ground with Republicans and Democrats in the Missouri Senate. She previously identified as a Republican for about 10 years while living in St. Charles and said she stays in regular contact with outspoken members of the Senate's now-disbanded Conservative Caucus -- Bob Onder, R-Lake Saint Louis, and Bill Eigel, R-Weldon Spring.
"I feel like I could have helped gotten some things through that were stalled in the Senate," she said, specifically pointing to a proposal to reduce Missouri's property tax.