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Missouri Rep. Crystal Quade, D-Springfield, isn’t afraid to stand up for what she believes in.
That’s apparent in Jefferson City, where she’s the only elected Democrat south of Columbia in both the Senate and House of Representatives.
Recognizing Quade’s influence, her colleagues elected her minority leader of the House starting with the 2019 legislative session.
“I am the first ever, that we can find, sophomore to be elected to this position, one of the few women ever and also the youngest,” Quade says. “I represent a different demographic than my colleagues, and yet they chose to trust me to lead them. There are few words to represent how honored I am to be given that trust.”
She often represents constituents whose voices might not be heard otherwise. For example, Quade has been at the forefront of efforts to help stem the tide of those dropping from the state’s Medicaid program. She has encouraged local residents to get in touch with her office as people, particularly children, have lost coverage. Quade says some 100,000 Missouri children have lost their Medicaid health care coverage in roughly the last year.
“My job is to be the voice of everyone in the 132nd legislative district in Jefferson City on issues that will directly impact their lives and their state,” she says. “As a state representative, everything I do is focused on making our community better.”
Bridget Dierks, vice president of programs for Community Foundation of the Ozarks, has watched Quade with admiration.
“There is enormous pressure on Crystal to represent every Democrat in the entire southern region. She responds to this vice grip of pressure with candor, honesty and steely determination,” says Dierks, a friend and colleague of Quade. “Who better to include amongst our ranks than a woman who constantly has the odds against her and never backs down from this monumental task?”
During the 2019 legislative session, Quade sponsored bills to shore up funding for early childhood education centers, allow taxpayers more time to meet tax obligations and regulate timeshare resale services.
As leader of the minority caucus, Quade helps other Democrats work with their constituents, providing an impact that’s felt across the state.
“I work with them on legislation they file, help them navigate the process to get it passed, as well as how to advocate for their issues,” she says.
First elected in 2016, Quade graduated from Missouri State University in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in social work. She’s worked as a staff assistant and constituent services representative for the U.S. Senate, regional field director for Community Blood Center of the Ozarks and, most recently, as director of chapter services for Springfield nonprofit Care to Learn.
SBJ interviews the interim dean at the William H. Darr College of Agriculture at Missouri State University.