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Nicole Galloway Wants to Stop the Missouri GOP’s Assault on Women’s Rights

Teen Vogue: Nicole Galloway Wants to Stop the Missouri GOP’s Assault on Women’s Rights

By Kaylen Ralph 

During his 2012 campaign for the Senate, former Missouri representative Todd Akin went on a local radio program and made a now infamous comment about how “legitimate rape” could not result in pregnancy.

In 2018, former Republican governor Eric Greitens resigned from office amidst multiple scandals, including allegations that he had taken a nude photograph of a woman, with whom he was having an extramarital affair, without her consent and threatened blackmail if she spoke out about the affair. (He admitted to the affair but denied breaking any laws or engaging in blackmail.)

In May 2019, Greitens’s replacement, Lt. Governor Mike Parson, signed HB-126, Missouri’s restrictive ban on abortion after eight weeks, which is still in place.

That October, Randall Williams, the state’s health director, testified to keeping a spreadsheet tracking Planned Parenthood patients’ periods as a way to track alleged “failed abortions” at the clinic in what activists say was a concerted effort to close the state’s only remaining abortion-providing clinic. (After a year-long contentious legal battle, Missouri's courts recently ruled that the facility must be allowed to remain open through at least 2021.)

This is just a brief overview of the right-wing, anti-women tilt of state politics in Missouri in recent years. And Nicole Galloway has had enough. The 37-year-old Democrat is facing off against Parson in the state’s gubernatorial election this November.

In an interview with Teen Vogue, Galloway said she never imagined ending up in this position.

Galloway first entered the fray of statewide politics when she ran — and won — the election for state auditor in 2018. She had held the position since 2015 after being appointed by former governor Jay Nixon to temporarily fill the position after her predecessor’s sudden death. When Greitens won the gubernatorial election in 2016, Galloway was left as the sole Democrat holding statewide office.

“On the evening of my election in November 2018, did I think I was running for governor? The answer is no,” Galloway told Teen Vogue.

“Did I think I would ever be running for state auditor? That would be no. I don't come from a political family. I don't come from a well-connected family. I thought that I would work and have a career in the private sector and did so, as an auditor and an accountant, until the opportunity to serve in public office arose at the local level in Boone County. And so I took that opportunity, but I never thought that I would be running for Boone County treasurer. I didn't think I'd run for state auditor and also just did not have a plan to run for governor, but here I am.”

Galloway grew up in a Fenton, a suburb of St. Louis, and has stayed in the state for her entire adult life. After graduating from the University of Missouri with a master's in business administration, she became a licensed CPA and certified fraud examiner before becoming treasurer for Boone County in 2011. Galloway said she took the job because she thought she could use her experience in the private sector to “add value and benefit the community” around her. “I looked at it more in the terms of public service than diving into politics,” she said.

But in a state with a political climate as schismatic as Missouri’s, where the current administration has restricted already-limited reproductive rights and sexual health services, kicked more than 100,000 children off Medicaid and further weaponized the state’s budget to restrict healthcare access, Galloway’s candidacy is inherently political — and historic.