Letter to the Editor

Cookson responds to Justice campaign ads

Friday, July 24, 2020

To The Editor:

As a Republican candidate in the Aug. 4 primary election for the Missouri 25th Senatorial District nomination, I have run a positive campaign on my solid qualifications to help solve issues facing Missouri government.

However, the outrageously negative fabrications being distributed by Eddy Justice cannot stand unanswered. Paid for by the Kansas City-based “Justice for All PAC,” bank-rolled by big city mega-donors, the slick fliers feature a brown-shirted Justice in a scowling “tough guy” stance.

The flip sides of the mailers have photos of myself and the other two (honorable) candidates with headlines reading “big city liberals and establishment politicians” and “weak, establishment, Jeff City Swamp Creatures.” Even though the copy states “Eddy has never held public office,” he allowed himself to be a stooge of the disgraced Gov. Eric Greitens (he was forced to resign), who packed the Missouri Board of Education with Eddy and others to get rid of an excellent education commissioner and appoint a Greitens crony to the post. (The duly appointed board later reinstated the original commissioner when Eddy and the others couldn’t get confirmed by the Senate.)

This type of campaign negativity based on outright lies and fabrications is demagoguery at its worst. Is this the type of senatorial representation you want? It flies in the face of my Christian faith.

If my eight years in the Missouri House after my 30-year career in public education qualifies me as “an establishment politician,” so be it. I worked side-by-side with Speaker of the House Todd Richardson of Poplar Bluff, serving as chair of the Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education as well as chair of the Committee on Higher Education.

The “big city liberal” charge is preposterous. I’m a small-town, common sense, rural conservative interested in one thing: Making Missouri a better place for all of our children and grandchildren, regardless of color, creed, national heritage or station in life. Period. And, I have the legislative experience and credentials to get things done.

I graduated from Advance High School in 1976 and played guard on the 1975 state champion Advance basketball team coached by my father, Carroll Cookson. I went on to play basketball for legendary Coach Gene Bess at Three Rivers Community College, where I graduated in 1978 after our team won third in the nation.

I then earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in biology from the College of the Ozarks, as well as a Master’s Degree in education administration and a Specialist Degree in education administration and public policy, both from Southeast Missouri State University.

I coached basketball and taught science at five area high schools, served as high school principal at three others and finished the last nine years of my career as superintendent of the Naylor school system. After retiring, I served a six-year term as a member of the Board of Trustees at Three Rivers.

Besides making things better for all Missourians, I’ll never lose sight of our rich agricultural heritage and the precious cultural and natural resources of Southeast Missouri.

Some of you will remember that I became quite ill with a failing liver near the end of my eight years of service in the Missouri House. I am happy to report that with excellent medical care and improved medications I have regained my health and energy and have largely recovered.

My primary goals in the Senate will be to promote meaningful skills education and workforce development, support small businesses and continue my advocacy for agriculture, which, after all, is our most important economic driver in the 25th District.

I intend to continue with my positive campaign. I trust that our district voters will be able to see through any future dishonest negativity should it rear its ugly head.

I’ve devoted my entire adult life to public service, and I ask for your support on Aug. 4 as the most experienced and qualified candidate on the ballot.


Steve Cookson

Missouri Senate Candidate

District No. 25