VOTERS GUIDE 2012: Candidates for 4th District U.S. Representative race

Monday, September 17, 2012 | 9:00 a.m. CDT; updated 10:07 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Editor's note: This story originally publishedin advance of the August primary. It has been updated to include information about the candidates who will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot. This article is part of the Missourian's 2012 general election voters guide.

WHAT'S THE JOB? Members of the U.S. House of Representatives serve two-year terms. They must be at least 25 and have at least seven years of citizenship. They also must live in the state and district they represent. 

Republicans hold the majority in the U.S. House, which consists of 435 voting members and six non-voting delegates. Missouri will elect eight representatives to the next Congress after losing one seat in the wake of the 2010 census. The annual salary for representatives is $174,000. 

With this year's elections, Boone County becomes part of the newly drawn congressional 4th District of Missouri, where the incumbent is Republican Rep. Vicky Hartzler. Boone County has recently been in the 9th District and represented by Republican Rep. Blaine Luektemeyer. 

Teresa Hensley (D) 

Hensley says she wants to provide a voice for the middle class, adding that small business growth is key for economic development. She supports balancing the budget "the right way," which would require large companies to "pay their fair share."

Hensley also said she would dedicate the necessary resources to Missouri’s military bases to keep them open and maintain Missouri jobs.

Hensley was appointed Cass County prosecutor in 2005, elected to the position in 2006 and re-elected in 2010. Before becoming a county prosecutor, Hensley was in private practice with her husband.

  • Personal: Age 53. Married to Kenneth Hensley. They have one son.
  • Occupation: Cass County prosecutor.
  • Education: Bachelor’s degree from William Jewel College, 1981; Juris Doctorate from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, 1991.
  • Background: Teaches safety training programs for women; sponsors local classes for those seeking permits to carry concealed guns; member of the Raymore Planning and Zoning Board and the Missouri Child Abuse & Neglect Review Board; member of Raymore and Harrisonville chambers of commerce.
  • Campaign website:

Vicky Hartzler (R) 

Hartzler was elected to the U.S. House in 2010, when she defeated longtime incumbent Democrat Ike Skelton. She previously served in the state House from 1994 until term limits forced her out in 2001. 

Her campaign website says she wants to "repeal, diminish and defund" the Affordable Care Act.

"The law forces citizens to pay for health care services that they find morally objectionable and that violate their religious beliefs," she said in a news release after voting to repeal the entire law. 

Hartzler also favors allowing insurance companies to compete across state lines. 

In the House, Hartzler serves on the House Agriculture and Armed Services committees. She also has sponsored bills to reduce the corporate income tax rate, and in July, she voted to allow the Governmental Accountability Office to audit the Federal Reserve. 

Hartzler lives in Harrisonville.

  • Personal: Age 51. Married to Lowell Hartzler. They have one daughter. 
  • Education: Bachelor's degree in education from MU, 1983; master's in education from from Central Missouri State University (now University of Central Missouri), 1992.
  • Occupation: Before serving in the state House and U.S. House, Hartzler was a teacher for 11 years. She also owns a farm equipment company with three stores.
  • Background: Has served on the American Home Economics Association, the Harrisonville Chamber of Commerce, the Missouri Farm Bureau, the Missouri State Teachers Association, the Missouri Vocational Association, the Pleasant Hill Chamber of Commerce and the University of Missouri Alumni Association.
  • Campaign website:

Thomas Holbrook (L) 

Thomas Holbrook said too many politicians are in the nation’s capital for themselves and not for the people.

He said he supports repealing the Patriot Act and placing the Federal Reserve entirely under congressional oversight. Holbrook also said he would do his part “to rein in the president” by introducing an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to prevent executive orders from bypassing the legislature.


  •  Personal: Age 29. Single.
  •  Occupation: Overnight cashier at Walmart.
  • Education: Bachelor’s in history from the University of Central Missouri, 2011.
  • Background: While in high school, Holbrook was a member of the Future Business Leaders of America, as well as a treasurer for one year. He briefly served as chair of the College Libertarians while attending the University of Central Missouri.
  • Campaign website:

Greg Cowan (Constitution) 

Cowan did not respond to calls seeking information about his candidacy. Emails and calls to the Missouri Constitution Party requesting information about Cowan were not returned.

    • Personal: Age 51. Married to Tammy Cowan. They have one son.
    • Occupation: Cowan has been a store manager since 2011.
    • Education: He received a bachelor's in history from Jacksonville University.
    • Background: Cowan served in the Navy from 1981-2004 and retired as a lieutenant commander. He was a senior military analyst from 2008-2010. He ran for the 4th District Congressional seat in 2010 and was defeated by Hartzler.

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.

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