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By the narrowest of margins, Stephanie Hein flipped the Missouri House District 136 from red to blue in her November 2022 race against incumbent Craig Fishel. According to the Missouri secretary of state’s office, Hein received 51% of the vote, with just 202 voters – maybe 202 handshakes, mailings or door hangers – giving her the edge out of the 13,526 votes cast.
Hein figures her background in the food and beverage industry was the difference-maker in the squeaker of a race.
“I just acquired a skill set of working with people from diverse backgrounds and understanding those diverse perspectives, which I believe served me incredibly well on the campaign trail,” she says. “I enjoyed having conversations with people.”
It is in hospitality that Hein says she learned to be comfortable around people with different ideas than her own.
“I definitely learned to listen,” she says.
A former university professor and administrator at Missouri State University, Hein notes she moved to a faculty emeritus role at MSU at the start of her campaign. In her higher education roles, Hein says she learned something else of use to a politician.
“I understand what it means when budget season comes around and we’re waiting to see what happens in Jefferson City to see how that will impact the university,” she says. “I’ve lived on the other side of being impacted by Jefferson City, and hopefully, I’ll be able to go in and make some positive impacts for Springfield.”
Hein thinks it’s important that Springfieldians know her background.
“When they’re looking to me or at me as their representative in Jefferson City, it’s important that they know me and that they trust that I will always do my best to represent them and make them proud of me and what we do in Springfield,” she says.
Hein’s legislative priorities include using her budgeting experience to bring the state’s budget priorities in line with those of most Missourians. Those include educational opportunities to lift all children, an economy that works for everyone and a health care system that can accommodate all patients, she says.
She adds that she hopes to serve as a bridge between education and industry.
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