Crystal Quade has a heart for helping others. Growing up in a low-income family, she knows what it’s like to need that help and not find it. That drive led her toward social work and an ultimate plan to run for office.
“When I was studying social work I saw the impact you could have through policy,” she says. “That’s where the real change starts. That’s where the works needs to be done.”
It was Springfield’s April 2015 vote to repeal sexual orientation and gender identity protections that really spurred Quade into action, she says, noting the outcome affected people on a personal level.
“To see someone lose the rights I feel everyone should have, I knew I had to act,” she says.
Fresh off the campaign trail and a November win, the freshman representative will take Rep. Charlie Norr’s seat as the lone democrat elected to a state-level office from southwest Missouri.
“I’m kind of a super minority in Jeff City; a woman and a democrat,” she says. “But that just means I have to work harder to make my voice heard.
“Most issues really are nonpartisan, so walking to the other side of the aisle isn’t hard. Compromise isn’t a dirty word.”
Following the landslide election of Republicans to every major state office and the White House, Quade says it will no doubt be a challenging environment.
“I’m not so naive as to think I can change the world, but I hope I find allies,” she says. “Nobody knows what to expect. Neither (President-elect Donald) Trump nor (Governor-elect Eric) Greitens have governed a day in their lives. We are all going to learn together.”
Quade says being an elected official – at any level – is an honor and an experience she’s ready to embrace. She fondly recalls visiting the capital during her practicum days in college.”
“I’m looking forward to walking up that hill in Jefferson City, looking at that big building and knowing I work there,” she says. “I am the voice of 37,000 people and that’s powerful.”
Quade will represent District 132 in Greene County, which covers most of center city, including downtown Springfield. A mother of three, Quade plans to continue her work with Care to Learn on an as-needed basis. The Midtown resident says she plans to dig into the process on day one, currently on a tour of the state with other new representatives to build relationships with both Republicans and Democrats.
Meeting other strong women inspires Quade. Hillary Clinton’s loss hit her hard.
“Sad is a good word to describe it,” she says of the emotion in the days following the election. “I really thought we were ready to break that barrier.
“But now, this is not the time to be sad, this is a time for action.”
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