Swan to seek 147th District House seat

Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Kathy Swan. (Fred Lynch)

One political announcement Monday prompted a second. Kathy Swan, a member of the Cape Girardeau City Council since 2010, plans to run for the Missouri House seat that is being vacated by Rep. Wayne Wallingford.

Swan's announcement came less than two hours after Wallingford, R-Cape Girardeau, held a news conference where he confirmed his plans to run for the Missouri Senate.

Swan, who owns JCS Wireless with her husband, Reg, said Wallingford's announcement that he will run for the 3rd District Senate seat created an opportunity for her to pursue the 147th District in the House.

"With my hands-on experience and the decision-making knowledge I've gained, particularly in the areas of business, health and education, I am well equipped for the job," Swan said. "This job is all about people and improving the quality of life for the people of the district."

Swan, a Cape Girardeau native, has served on several statewide boards and local committees. She was appointed by Gov. Bob Holden to serve on the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education in 2003 and was reappointed by Govs. Matt Blunt and Jay Nixon.

Swan, 61, was elected to the Cape Girardeau City Council in 2010, serving the city's Ward 6. She said Monday that if she's elected she would have to resign from the state education board and the city council in order to devote most of her time to the House seat.

It would apparently take a special election to fill the remainder of Swan's council term, which is set to expire in 2014. Cape Girardeau officials were unavailable for comment because of Monday's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. But the city charter says a vacancy on the council "shall be filled by the council for a period running until a special election can be held to fill the vacancy for the balance of the unexpired term."

No others have made their intentions public about running for the House seat that includes basically all of Cape Girardeau's city limits. Redistricting following the 2010 census changed the number of the district from 158 to 147 and added the Dalhousie area and split Gordonville -- the part of the town that is east of Highway 25 is in the new 147th District.

Swan wasn't certain at first that she would be eligible to run for the House. She served as a member of the Senate apportionment commission last year that attempted to redraw Senate boundaries to reflect the 2010 census data.

The Missouri Constitution disqualifies such members from holding office in the legislature for four years following the date of the filing by the commission of its final statement of apportionment.

But Swan said Monday she has sought several legal opinions, which have led her to believe she can run because her commission was unable to reach a decision about redistricting and never filed a map. Also, she said, she was on the Senate committee and never considered boundaries for a House map.

Missouri secretary of state spokesman Ryan Hobart said last week that it would take a legal challenge to answer the question more definitively and that, barring a challenge, nothing prohibits Swan from running and serving.

Swan, who has worked on several Republican campaigns, has support from Wallingford and former representative Mary Kasten.

"She's already displayed strong leadership throughout the state on many issues," Wallingford said. "She's got a resume like mine, quite frankly. She's heavily involved in education, and she'd make a fine representative for Cape Girardeau."

Swan has also served as a member of the Family and Community Trust board, the Missouri National Federation of Independent Businesses Leadership Council, the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry board of directors and is a former school board member. She has not run for an elected state office before.

Cape Girardeau banker Danny Essner, who serves as her campaign chairman, said he's known Swan for more than two decades and he's always admired her commitment to serve the community.

"She doesn't have a personal agenda. She's not trying to benefit herself," he said. "She's very talented, articulate and she thinks very analytically. For those reasons, and others, I think she could be very effective."



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