A lifelong fighter for Missouri’s working families
Senator Claire McCaskill is a fourth-generation Missourian, a trailblazer, and a tireless fighter for women and families who is running for re-election in 2018. Claire comes from a service-oriented family: her father was the state’s insurance commissioner and her mother — an Equal Rights Amendment advocate — was the first woman elected to the Columbia City Council. Claire’s mother got her involved in politics early, even teaching a young Claire to say “trick or treat and vote for JFK” on Halloween. A product of Missouri’s public schools, Claire began waiting tables at the Lake of the Ozarks the day after graduating high school — a job she would hold for six years in order to help pay her way through college and law school at the University of Missouri — Columbia. After law school, Claire started work as an assistant prosecutor in Kansas City. When Claire ran for a seat in the Missouri state legislature, she knocked on over 11,000 doors in her district. Twenty-eight years old and single, she was told, "You're too young; your hair is too long; you’re a girl...” and even “Go find yourself a husband,” but negativity has never stopped Claire from fighting for what’s right — and she won. When her son Austin was born in 1987, Claire became the first Missouri state legislator to give birth while serving in office. A proud working mother, she brought him to the Capitol and introduced him to the chamber as a “special guest.” Claire distinguished herself as a leader on criminal justice and made history again in 1992 when she became the first woman to be elected Jackson County prosecutor, breaking new ground in combating violent crime, diverting first-time drug offenders from prison and establishing a domestic violence unit — a first-of-its-kind initiative for the region. In 1998 and 2002, as the single mom of three young children, Claire was elected Missouri state auditor. During her tenure, Claire was a fierce advocate for working families. In 2006, Claire unseated incumbent Republican Senator Jim Talent to become Missouri’s first elected woman senator, despite being heavily outspent. And in 2012, she took down Todd Akin, the extreme right-wing Republican who outrageously claimed that victims of “legitimate rape” have a way to “shut down” resulting pregnancies. Claire still returns to Missouri nearly every weekend to spend time with her husband, Joseph, and their blended family of seven children and nine grandchildren — and she’s working harder than ever to fight back against Donald Trump and his Republican allies who are advancing his dangerous agenda in the Senate.
An experienced leader fearlessly tackling the toughest problems
Claire is a strong leader known for tackling the toughest problems facing working families. She takes a commonsense approach: she speaks directly, leads confidently, brings innovative ideas to the debate, and quickly turns those ideas into action. And throughout her career, Claire has created opportunities to work across the aisle to help the people she serves. “Why have an enemy when you can have a friend?” she has said. Claire is committed to expanding economic opportunity for women and working families in Missouri and across the country. She has fought for the first increase in the minimum wage in 10 years, increased lending for small businesses, and supported legislation that will help initiate investments in science research and education to keep our economy competitive. She is a champion for policies that will help end gender discrimination in pay. “Ensuring women get equal pay for equal work isa battle my mom had to fight,” she has said, “and I’m determined not to leave that fight for my daughters to finish.” As a former sex crimes prosecutor — and as a woman who has experienced sexual harassment in the workplace from the time she was an intern for a Missouri state representative, and even received unwanted advances from a judge as a young prosecutor — Claire tirelessly fights back against rape culture. She has helped lead debate on the issue with the goals of better protecting and empowering survivors and holding accountable both perpetrators and those who enable and protect them. In 2017 she joined the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over tax policy, trade, and health care — and it’s where lawmakers will debate how to replace the Affordable Care Act and how to pay for it. This fight is personal for Claire, who shops on the exchange like anyone else, and gets no reimbursement from the federal government for her policy. As a breast cancer survivor, she understands how millions of women and families would be impacted if insurers could turn them down for having pre-existing conditions. She strongly denounces GOP efforts to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, and she has fought to expand access to family planning resources throughout her career. She is a critical part of the firewall of pro-choice Democratic women in the Senate who are blocking anti-choice legislation that Republicans are relentlessly pushing to advance, and will continue to fight for women’s rights as they come under attack like never before.
A high-stakes fight for re-election
Claire is a fearless champion for women and families, and she is fighting for us every day in the U.S. Senate. She’s already taking hits from Donald Trump’s deep-pocketed allies because they know she will hold Republicans accountable for recklessly advancing their radical agenda. As the top Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Claire is holding Donald Trump accountable for his close ties to Russia and his dangerous disregard for the intelligence community. The GOP has gained ground in Missouri in recent years, and Donald Trump’s 2016 victory there by almost 20 percentage points has Republicans hoping that they can continue the trend and defeat Claire, a top target because of her fearless advocacy for policies that give women and families a fair shot. But Claire has faced tough opposition since her first campaign over 30 years ago, and she has long embraced being an underdog. Throughout her impressive career, she has quietly “hyperprepared” for every challenge, she has said — a strategy that has been key in her many victories over stunned opponents who underestimated her. With the Missouri Republicans’ tendency to nominate candidates far outside of the mainstream like Todd Akin, anything could happen in Missouri in 2018. Let’s all chip in and show Claire that she can count on the EMILY’s List community of over five million people as she continues her lifelong fight to give women and working families a fair shot.