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2019 Men of the Year: Shane Schoeller

Greene County

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Shane Schoeller has dedicated his life to public service.

“I sensed a calling to public service as early as I can remember and have pursued that calling throughout my career,” he says.

Now Greene County clerk, Schoeller started his career as a field representative for Sens. Kit Bond and John Ashcroft.

That early work, during a nearly two-year period in the 1990s, helped set the pace for his future endeavors.

Schoeller says in the field representative role — which he would later hold with then-U.S. House Rep. Roy Blunt — had him traveling Missouri meeting with the community via public outreach sessions.

“It taught me that listening is key to success in the civic arena and these forums allowed that to happen as people from all walks of life came to share their opinions and concerns,” he says.

Flash forward to 2007, and Schoeller began using what he’d previously learned when he was elected as a state representative. He served through December 2012, culminating in his role as speaker pro tem during his final term.

While a member of the House, Schoeller worked on committees that reviewed budget appropriations, utilities, taxation and revenue, and economic development. After being named speaker pro tem by his colleagues, Schoeller served as chairman for the disaster recovery committee in the wake of the 2011 Joplin tornado.

Schoeller says one of the most important issues he worked on was fighting child abuse and neglect, an issue that took his entire six years in the legislature.

Shortly after Schoeller was elected, two grandparents shared a story about how their 18-month-old grandson, Gavin Jordan, was murdered by his mother’s boyfriend a year prior. The grandparents told Schoeller they had taken steps to protect the child via Missouri’s Child Abuse Hotline but their efforts ultimately did nothing.

“There were no words that can express the personal anguish that I felt as I listened, realizing that if they had been heard at the time, Gavin would most likely be here today,” Schoeller says. Schoeller went on to introduce a bill implementing changes to prevent such crimes. He was surprised to find opposition, and he was blocked by a state senator over political differences on a separate matter. He took the issue to Sen. Jay Wasson, who carried the legislation the following year.

“I am grateful he did, as we were able to work together to get it passed in my final year in the legislature,” Schoeller says.

At Greene County, Schoeller took office in 2015. As county clerk, he’s worked to improve voter access through improvements to absentee ballots and to implement central polling locations — where any Springfield resident can vote — beyond just the courthouse. Central polling locations have been added at Missouri State University’s Welcome Center, City Utilities of Springfield’s downtown bus station and at CoxHealth. Mercy also will be a location in the future, he says.

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