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  Conon Gillis 

  for Missouri Senate 

 District 32

I was born on October 24th, 1988 in Riverside, California. Shortly after I was born my family and I moved to Missouri so that my father could begin his path to becoming an engineer. Education is very important to my family and I. I am proud to say that my dad went on to receive a doctorate in engineering, my mother is currently working on her doctorate in education, my brother Dillon earned a degree in Wood Technology from PSU after serving in the U.S. Marines, my brother Gage is studying German and Anthropology at MU, and my wonderful wife Lacey is working toward her Master's in counseling at MSU. I graduated from Rolla High School with honors in 2007 while participating in soccer, National Honor Society, drama, and the school newspaper. In 2012 I graduated from Missouri Southern State University with a Bachelor's in Secondary Social Studies Education while being a member of an educational honor society called Kappa Delta Pi. 


Shortly before graduating from Southern I chose to move off campus into an apartment near Joplin High School. A few days later on May 22nd, 2011 two friends and I narrowly survived as an EF-5 tornado ripped through the heart of Joplin. After finding our way off the second floor we proceeded to help anyone that we could find in the now devastated apartment complex. While I wished this would be my last connection with this kind of destruction, years later in 2017 the Neosho School District was also struck by a tornado. I chipped in to create temporary classrooms with others from the community so that students could finish out the rest of the school year. These events still haunt me to this day.


Following college, I was lucky enough to land a career at Neosho High School teaching History and U.S. Government. Over the next 5 years at Neosho High School I had the good fortune of teaching hundreds of students about the ups and downs of human history, the inner workings of U.S. Government, and the rights guaranteed to all Americans. Through that time, I have benefited from hearing and understanding various opinions on many issues, building rapport with my students and peers, been chosen as Star Teacher, received many hours of professional development, served on the Dropout Prevention and Professional Development Committees and led the high school Fandom Club. 


On April 5th , 2015 I happily married my wonderful wife, Lacey, and together we have traveled to Europe and around the U.S. We have been lucky enough to make a home with our two beautiful dogs Ella and Sadie. 


During my career as an educator I became involved with the Green Party, serving as Secretary of the Green Alliance of Southwest Missouri, the Joplin area Green Party Chapter. I was also selected to serve on the State Platform Committee for the Missouri Green Party. I have also been an avid runner since college and proudly managed to place third in three different Joplin Memorial Runs. More recently, my wife and I began enjoying local trivia competitions, where I was chosen to use my teaching skills to host weekly trivia nights. 


Anyone that has followed my Facebook page the last year would likely be surprised to hear that for much of my life I was not really interested in politics. I had my own opinions on what the government should be doing to help make our world and the U.S. a better place for it's people, but I must admit that I was not the most highly engaged citizen. However, through my years of teaching government and my own growing concerns about political events happening around us, I eventually got pulled in. I have since become incredibly engaged and I believe that there is a better way for things to be done because millions of lives are on the line.


In my classroom over the years I have preached the importance of things like citizen participation, liberty, and equality while watching those same values come under attack by some of our elected representatives and private citizens. I had always hoped that great leaders like those in my history books would come along and make things better for us like they have done in the past, but now I realize that this was quite a lazy mentality. All of this to say that I have talked the talk, but now I am going to walk to walk. I have studied the history, but now it's time to make some history. 


This is why I have decided to run for the Missouri State Senate in District 32. I encourage everyone in the area to get involved and vote in the first real election this district will have seen in over a decade. If elected I pledge to:

  •  Advance education so that we give our students and teachers the best possible opportunities to be successful. 
  • Uphold liberty and equality because at its core our government was designed to protect these ideals for our people.
  •  Promote job creation through green infrastructure because renewable energy is one of today's fastest growing markets and our fossil fuels will not last forever.
  • Make sure that no voter gets left behind because every citizen deserves to have a say in what our government does.
  • Strengthen the middle class by creating good jobs and removing unnecessary burdens on families like healthcare, education and taxes. 


I promise that the people in this district chose to honor me with this seat, I will pursue with the same honesty, integrity, energy and dedication that I have always shown in my classroom.


Now, "Let's Make History!"


MY PLATFORM

Advance Education

Having been a high school teacher for almost 6 years, I hold the value of education among my highest priorities and have experienced first hand where improvements can be made. The vast majority of Missouri teachers want the best for their students and are intrinsically motivated to improve their own abilities as educators. However, Missouri’s current system of high-stakes testing overall hinders the quality of education by forcing teachers to try to guess what will be on a standardized test then giving those teachers poor data that does not give any indicator on how to improve for the following school year. By reassessing the current Missouri education standards and testing system, we can ensure that our high quality teachers have a better opportunity to succeed.


It is also important that we provide students with the tools to be successful. Many kids across the state are burdened with obstacles like learning and behavior challenges, English language barriers, low socioeconomic status and other cultural divides in areas like race, sexual orientation, and so many other things. I believe that education can help be a great equalizer for these young people, but only if they are given the resources and opportunities to be high achieving students pre-K though 12th grade and beyond. This can be done by creating and empowering programs that are aimed at helping students succeed in all levels of education like special education, English as a second language, Upward Bound, the A+ Scholarship program, and more.

Upholding Liberty and Equality

During my years of teaching U.S. Government, I taught and emphasized the American values of liberty and equality. I want to take the lessons I taught in the classroom and transfer them to the Missouri Senate. Liberty is the ability for people to think and act as they wish as long as their choices do not harm the well being or liberty of others. I will advocate for laws that protect the choices of people that live up to the value of liberty and fight against those that limit liberty. This would include protecting rights like those guaranteed under the first and second amendments of the U.S. Constitution. As long as people exercise these rights responsibly without harming the well being or liberty of others, the law should protect their choices. I will also push for policies that will protect all Missourians equally so that everyone has a chance their own pursuit of happiness.

Job Creation through Green Infrastructure

The creation of good paying jobs is critical to fostering a strong economy and 21st century Americans demand large amounts of energy. The scientific community is largely in agreement that many of the current energy systems used by human beings is promoting climate change around the world and putting billions of lives at risk. I believe that by promoting and investing in green infrastructure and energy systems, we can address both of these issues. Groups like The Solutions Project have determined that Missouri and other states have the ability to convert entirely to renewable energy sources by 2050 while also creating thousands of jobs in our state, saving our residents thousands of dollars in energy bills, and reducing Missouri’s pollution all at the same time. My aim is to do this through modernizing Missouri's infrastructure and giving incentives to businesses to aggressively aid in the state’s switch to efficiency and renewable energy.

No Voter Left Behind

The democratic process and voice of regular citizens are the cornerstones of our republic. Following this philosophy, I am committed to ensuring that the values of all Missourians are reflected in our government. This will require election and voter policies that allow and encourage the high citizen participation that I have always promoted in my classroom. By implementing programs like automatic voter registration and increasing the number of polling locations, Missouri can better ensure that all eligible voters will have the ability to cast a ballot in elections. It is important to make sure that no Missouri voices go unheard, whether they voted with the majority or not. Switching to election systems like proportional representation and ranked choice voting, our state can better ensure that our elected officials represent the values of all citizens as accurately as possible.

Strengthen the Middle Class

For many years now the percentage of Americans earning a middle class income has been shrinking while the amount of money made by the upper class has increased. If we continue on this path, it will result in a very large amount of U.S. wealth being controlled by a small group of people while the vast majority of Americans work for low wages. Currently, over 100,000 Missouri residents receive some kind of government assistance and about ¼ of Missouri jobs are considered low wage. This means that they pay at or below the poverty level. This shows that even many of the people who are working need some kind of government help to provide for their families. I will strive for policies that will move more people from the lower class to the middle class so that they no longer need government help to get by. This will be done through improving the ability of people to get a high quality education, increasing the number of good paying jobs, and easing unnecessary financial burdens on Missouri families in areas like healthcare, education, taxes, and more. Not only will increasing the size of the middle class lower the need for tax dollars to go to government assistance, it will also strengthen the overall economy as more people have disposable income to spend at other local establishments.


Follow my historic campaign on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VoteGillis/


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“During my years of teaching U.S. Government, I taught and emphasized the American Ideals of Liberty and Equality. I will transfer the lessons I taught in the classroom to policy in the Missouri Senate.”


-Conon Gillis Green Party Candidate for Missouri State Senate District 32


-Green Party Candidate, Missouri State Senate District 32

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