Five Republicans are running for U.S. Congress in the Aug. 4 primary election to represent Missouri's 3rd Congressional District.
Incumbent Blaine Luetkemeyer is running for another term, and Lynette Trares, Brandon Wilkinson, Adela Wisdom and Jeffrey Nowak are running for their first term.
The winner of the Republican primary will face the winner of the Democratic primary between two candidates, as well as Libertarian Leonard Steinman, who is running unopposed in the primary, in the November general election.
Luetkemeyer is a native of St. Elizabeth, where his family has lived for four generations. He has a background in agriculture and business and has been in the banking and insurance industry for more than 30 years. He has also served as a bank regulator for the state of Missouri.
Luetkemeyer has represented Missouri's 3rd Congressional District since 2009. He serves on the House Financial Services Committee and as ranking member of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions. He is also a member of the Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis.
Luetkemeyer was elected to the Missouri State House of Representatives from 1999-2005, serving as chairman of the Financial Services Committee and as House Republican Caucus chairman. After leaving office, he served as director of the Missouri Division of Tourism.
Luetkemeyer said he decided to run for another term because he believes he needs to continue the work he's doing.
"I think I have the continued set of ideals and values that best represent the district as a whole," he said. "I have the experience to be an effective legislator for my district and continue to do the work of representing the district on a myriad of issues."
As a member of the Financial Services Committee, Luetkemeyer's focus is on financial service issues such as banking, credit unions, insurance and housing. He also said he wants to continue to focus on river issues, the pro-life movement, Second Amendment rights and business issues.
"I've done a good job to represent the local folks and bring some common-sense conservative ideas to the table to be able to address all those issues," he said.
Trares has lived in St. Charles County since 1974. She has worked for the Missouri Department of Social Services Children's Division in foster care and adoptive placement; the Missouri Department of Mental Health, where she helped children with disabilities through the Missouri First Steps program; and the Missouri Department of Economic Development as a re-employment specialist during the Wall Street crash.
She currently runs a medical cosmetics tattoo practice that she started in 2010 and works at the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services in the Protective Services Unit for seniors and those with disabilities. She also runs a nonprofit for breast cancer survivors called the BreastInk Project.
Trares' top issues are public school security and child vaping laws, national security and immigration, medical marijuana and prison reform, the Second Amendment, sustainable infrastructure and economic development, and COVID-19 recovery.
Trares said she decided to run for Congress because there are many legislative issues she wants to take on, and she wants her voice to be heard. She believes she's the best candidate because of her volunteerism and activism.
"I'm out serving; I'm already always ever present," she said. "I've been present in my community for 20 years."
She said she believes she's the best candidate because she has experience in economic relief and a track record of getting people back into the workforce. She also has experience serving at probation and parole for Missouri's 17th District.
"I've seen first-hand those who have been incarcerated for marijuana crime, and I'm the only one with prison reform on my platform," she said. "I'm also the only one looking at the foreseeable future as a sustainable infrastructure."
The News Tribune reached out to Adela Wisdom via phone and Jeffrey Nowak via email but did not receive responses. Brandon Wilkinson was unavailable for comment.