Doctor, attorney contend in Republican primary for state Senate District 24

SH, other parts of South County in new Senate district

George+Hruza+and+Brett+Schenck

George Hruza and Brett Schenck

By Erin Achenbach, News Editor

Editor’s note: This is a developing article. Continue to check back to callnewspapers.com for more. 

Sunset Hills will be represented by a different state Senate district in next year’s legislative session after this year’s redistricting. Sunset Hills, as well as portions of Fenton and Oakville in unincorporated south St. Louis County are now part of Senate District 24. 

There are two candidates running in the Republican primary Aug. 2 for the 24th Senate District: George Hruza, a dermatologic surgeon from Huntleigh, and Brett Schenck, an attorney from Creve Couer. 

Hruza is a newcomer to public office. He lives in Huntleigh with his wife Carri and together they have four adult children. Hruza is an immigrant from Czechoslovakia and works as a micrographic dermatologic surgeon at Laser and Dermatologic Surgery Center. 

When asked why he was seeking office, Hruza said, “As an immigrant from communist Czechoslovakia, the U.S afforded my family and myself incredible opportunity and success. I want to make sure that others continue to be able to live the American dream as I did. I am running on individual liberty, responsibility and opportunity for all Missouri residents.”

Schenck is a solo practicing attorney who lives in Creve Couer with his wife Jun. They have two children who attend Ladue Middle School. 

When asked why he was seeking office, Schenck said, “ I want to make the lives of people in District 24 better.”

The candidates gave the following responses to The Call’s candidate questionnaire: 

What issue do you consider the single most important issue in this race and why?

Hruza: “If elected, I will be the only doctor in the Missouri Senate. I want to ensure that Missourians have access to the healthcare they need. Missourians need to be able to choose their physicians and be treated in a safe and cost-transparent manner.”

Schenck: “Improving the economy of the district.”

Other issues you perceive in your race and your position on each:

Hruza: “We need lower taxes, workforce development, transparency, and choice within education. I also strongly support our law enforcement and first responders.”

Schenck: “To better protect and defend the constitutional rights and freedoms of the people of Missouri. This includes allowing parents to decide how to best educate their children. Also, to better protect our values and reduce crime.”

What do you believe are the core responsibilities for someone elected to this office?

Hruza: “Service to the community, ensuring good government and transparency. Open line of communication between elected official offices and the constituents they serve.”

Schenck: “The elected official should be ethical, professional, and be persistent in getting things done for his or her constituents. Over my career as an attorney, I have tried to emulate these qualities. I have had very good reviews from many of my clients that touch on these qualities.”

What do you perceive to be the 24th District’s greatest challenges? 

Hruza: “The 24th District is diverse economically and culturally. It will be important to represent all of these individuals. I am looking forward to working on solutions for our great community.”

Schenck: “Improving the economy and ensuring that our rights, values and freedoms are protected. We need to foster more innovation into the district to attract more businesses … My law practice focuses on protecting clients inventions and creative works through patents, copyrights, and trademarks.  I plan to use this experience … to make the lives of the residents of District 24 better.”

What is your position on tax-increment financing? Are changes needed?

Hruza: “The original purpose of a TIF was to encourage development in blighted or underserved areas. I support the original intent of a TIF but the current practice is abused. This abuse places existing businesses at a competitive disadvantage and rarely spurs development that would have not occurred without a TIF. We need better infrastructure.”

Schenck: “We need to make sure that funds from tax-increment financing actually stimulate private investment in a blighted area that has been designated to be in need of economic revitalization.”

Are changes needed to the state’s foundation formula for funding education?

Hruza: “The foundation formula is a complex document that the legislature often amends … I would only vote for changes that would improve students, access to choice, access to technology and improve student outcomes.”

Schenck: “Not at this time.”

Are changes needed to the law allowing Missouri citizens to carry concealed weapons? 

Hruza: “We should always defend constitutional rights. Safety and reduced crimes are my top concern. We must have robust background checks. We want to keep weapons out of hands of dangerous individuals.”

Schenck: “Not at this time.”

Should police departments be defunded?

Hruza: “No, we must support, defend, and respect our brave men and women in law enforcement.”

Schenck: “No, police departments should be improved, but not defunded.”

Do you support right-to-work legislation?

Hruza: “Missourians voted overwhelmingly on this issue. I support the will of the people.”

Schenck: “Yes.”