Three candidates — Republican incumbent Vicky Hartzler, Democrat Lindsey Simmons and Libertarian Steven Koonse — are seeking to represent Missouri’s 4th District in the U.S. House of Representatives for the next two years. Here’s a look at their backgrounds and positions.

Vicky Hartzler

Vicky Hartzler

Vicky Hartzler Republican

Hometown: Harrisonville

Age: 59

Party: Republican

Occupation: Incumbent 4th District U.S. representative

Education: Bachelor’s degree in education from MU, 1983; master’s degree in education from Central Missouri State University (now University of Central Missouri), 1992

Campaign website: vickyhartzler.com

Social media: Facebook @vickyforcongress, Twitter @VickyH4Congress, Instagram @vickyhartzler4congress

Background: Member of the House Agriculture and House Armed Services committees; chair of the House Values Action Team, which comprises more than 110 House members working with nonprofit organizations to promote faith, family and freedom

Hartzler was first elected state representative in 1994 from Missouri’s 124th District and served six years in the Missouri legislature. She was awarded the Guardians of Small Business Award from the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the Spirit of Enterprise Award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Outstanding Service to Agriculture Award from the Missouri Farm Bureau and the Main Street Hero Award from the National Retail Federation. She is also endorsed by National Right to Life and the National Rifle Association.

“I believe that each person was created with a purpose and deserves dignity and freedom to pursue their God-given rights and goals,” Hartzler has said. “I am running for office to ensure that today’s families and future generations can live in a safe and secure America and have opportunities to work hard, succeed and provide for themselves and their families.”

Hartzler said that if she is reelected, her priorities will be to keep the country and people safe by rebuilding national defense, growing the economy and expanding rural broadband. She said she will work to make health care more accessible and affordable and to protect life and people’s First and Second Amendment rights.

Lindsey Simmons

Lindsey Simmons

Lindsey Simmons Democrat

Hometown: Hallsville

Age: 33

Party: Democrat

Occupation: Attorney

Education: Bachelor’s degree from Missouri Valley College, 2010; master’s degree from the University of South Dakota; Harvard Law School, 2015

Campaign website: lindseysimmons.com

Social media: Facebook@LindseyforCongress, Twitter @LynzforCongress, Instagram @lindseyforcongress

Background: Simmons worked as a legislative assistant in the Missouri House from 2011–12. In 2013, she was a summer associate at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and a law clerk in the Missouri Attorney General’s Office. From 2014–15, she worked as a legal fellow in the U.S. Senate. After that, she was an associate with Cleary Gottlieb Steen and Hamilton Limited Liability Partnership until 2019.

Simmons “has advocated on behalf of domestic violence survivors, conservation groups, veterans and helped flood and hurricane victims secure FEMA benefits,” according to her campaign website. In 2018, one of her long-term clients was freed after being wrongfully convicted of a crime 25 years before. She was awarded a Pro Publica Award for Public Service and was named Missouri Valley College’s Outstanding Young Alumni.

Her husband, Chris Rosado, is a member of the U.S. Army. She is advocating for better conditions at U.S. military installations and better treatment of active military and their spouses.

“The things that have happened to military families under this administration are just unconscionable,” she told the Muleskinners Democratic club recently.

“I am not the only wife whose husband’s third deployment is made less safe by reckless foreign policy; I am not the only mother who has watched schools on our military base lose funding to build a wall; I am not the only daughter whose mother hesitates to retire because of the cost of health care; and I am not the only member of a farming family that is collateral damage in a trade war,” Simmons said in the video on her campaign website. “And I have had enough.”

Steven Koonse

Steve Koonse

Steve Koonse Libertarian

Hometown: Leeton

Age: 72

Party: Libertarian

Occupation: Retired

Education: Bachelor’s degree in business administration with a functional major in accounting from Central Missouri State University (now University of Central Missouri), 1974

Social media: Facebook @steven.koonse.1

Background: Koonse is a veteran who served in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Stars and two Army Commendation medals for intelligence work. He retired as an Army master sergeant based on active and reserve duty and has worked in private industry as a staff accountant and in the federal government as an auditor. He also retired from the Missouri Department of Insurance as a financial examiner. He was a candidate in 2018 for Missouri’s 4th District congressional seat.

In Koonse’s Libertarian view, “Each person has the right to live his life in any way he chooses as long as he respects the equal rights of others. A lot of people say Libertarians are anarchists. No, not at all. The Libertarian position is to get less government involvement and more cooperation with each other.”

Koonse notes that the Constitution gives Congress the authority to regulate commerce with foreign nations, “so I plan on trying to get ahold of foreign nations and work with ensuring that the goods produced in the 4th District are freely traded with them.”

Koonse also wants to make Congress more accountable for the money it appropriates. He said that during the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, Congress has scattered money all over the place in an effort to compensate for high unemployment. He thinks a better idea would be to create jobs by focusing on improving infrastructure.

  • General Assignment reporter, summer 2020 Studying convergence journalism-multimedia producing Reach me at lgao@mail.missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at 882-5720

  • I've been a reporter and editor at Missouri community newspapers for 35 years and joined the Columbia Missourian in 2003. My emphasis at the Missourian is on local government and elections. You can reach me at swaffords@missouri.edu or at 573-884-5366.

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