Lauren Arthur, 29

“Women are far underrepresented in government, and sometimes young women are missing entirely. One of the reasons I decided to run was so that other women, particularly young girls, could imagine themselves in this role.”

In their own words

I’m the Missouri State Representative for District 18, party treasurer for Missouri Democrats and Regional Director for Urban Leaders Fellowship

I got elected in 2014 after contested primary and general elections. At the time, I was one of the youngest representatives—and the only 20-something elected woman—in the House.

After the 2016 elections, which did not go well for democrats in Missouri, I decided to take a leadership role with the state party. As treasurer, I help with strategy and fundraising. We are looking to connect with people in every county, rebuild the party infrastructure and improve the democratic brand.

Also, overcoming a terrible track record with plants, I have successfully grown tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers in my garden this summer.

KC story

I went away to college, and I expected to settle in another country upon college graduation. But, I met with a Teach for America recruiter during my senior year. He said, “I think it’s great you want to do humanitarian work across the world, but there’s a lot of need and opportunity in your hometown, too.” That stayed with me.

I returned to teach with TFA. I was surprised to see how much Kansas City changed in just a few years. I love downtown’s revitalization and that there is a renewed pride in Kansas City. For the first time in my life, we have a winning baseball team – and one that’s so dang fun to watch.

Now, it’s hard to imagine wanting to live anywhere else.

A day in the life

During session, I’ll get up when my roommates (other legislators) start to stir, around 6 a.m. I walk to the Capitol and head to my office, where I’ll immediately grab coffee (the first cup of many). I catch up on email, read the news, listen to NPR, look through my schedule, and read any bills that may come to the floor or committee. Typically, we gavel in at 10 a.m. for our morning session. Upon adjournment, I will head to committee and hear testimony on various bills and vote bills out of committee. Then, I usually meet with constituents, students, or other advocacy groups who visit their Capitol. This is, by far, the best part of the day. As session progresses, we usually return to have floor debate in the afternoon (and sometimes at night). It’s not usual to have other committee meetings in the evening. I’ll grab a late dinner, head back to the apartment, and prepare to do it all over the next day.

Legacy

I would like to be known as someone who’s empathetic, thoughtful and made my part of the world a little better than I found it.

Whoa

I moonlight as an amateur chef. My husband started a blog a few years ago, and he features my culinary adventures. I love playing music, pouring a glass of wine and spending the evening in the kitchen.  

Protip

Kansas City is a big small town. If you want to get involved or connect with leaders, it’s easy to do so. Don’t be afraid to ask for a meeting or volunteer to help.