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2020 12 People: Abe McGull

Representing the People

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When Abe McGull was growing up, he didn’t spend his Saturday mornings watching cartoons. Instead, his mother would wake him up and instruct him to mow lawns for widows in his neighborhood.

Per her instructions, he couldn’t ask for money – just a glass of water.

“That instilled in me the spirit of community and that family exists beyond those in your household,” he says.

That lesson still marks his days. Aside from fulfilling his civic duties at his day job as an assistant U.S. attorney, he spends evenings and weekends trying to improve the community through his work as a member of Springfield City Council, as well as on the board of directors for Community Foundation of the Ozarks and on the pastoral support team at Christ Episcopal Church.

One of his top priorities as a city councilman is to improve nuisance properties throughout the city.

“I would like to get us to a point where every nuisance property has a timely plan of action with definite benchmarks,” McGull says.

Out of all of his past positions, McGull finds his time in the Navy Reserve working as a media operations chief taught him the most. He considers earning the Bronze Star a highlight of his military career.

“The work we did there was intense, and we were under the most arduous circumstances,” he says. “I had to manage a staff of both locals, nationals and military. That was quite an ordeal because it’s not every day that you go to work and have rockets fired at you from the enemy and still do your job.”

Another standout role on McGull’s resume is his stint as mayor of Pleasant Valley, north of Kansas City, where he fondly recalls successfully bluffing a veto in order to get opposing council members to make City Hall compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

As an assistant U.S. attorney, he has prosecuted people who he refers to as “some of the worst offenders of our federal laws.” One stand out case involved talking with a mother in New Orleans who had lost all three of her sons to gun violence. McGull had to prosecute her son’s shooters. “They were two young men barely in their twenties that killed at least a handful of people in their short years of life,” he says. “I will never forget the detached stare in their eyes as they sat at the defense table. Throughout the hearing and much later, I think about that woman and the overwhelming grief she bore in burying her three sons. My efforts may have not dulled this mother’s pain, but it assured me that I chose the right profession that stands up for what is just and right in our world.”

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