South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Newcomer Kerns faces incumbent Murphy for 94th Missouri House District

Kyle Kerns

The race for the 94th District of the Missouri House of Representatives this year features Republican incumbent Jim Murphy and Cultivation Capital chief financial officer and Democrat Kyle Kerns.

This is the first time Kerns has run for public office. Kerns was born on a farm in rural northwest Missouri and attended college at Missouri State University in Springfield. After college, Kerns moved to St. Louis to work as a public accountant and as a CPA at Edward Jones. Currently he is the CFO of a venture capital firm and he has lived in the 94th District for over 20 years.

Kerns will face current representative Murphy, R-Oakville, in the November General Election. Murphy is seeking his third term in the legislature after he was first elected to the Missouri House in 2018, then running against Mehlville school board member Jean Pretto.

Kerns said he has always had an interest in public service, and in the last few years he has seen less of an effort by elected officials to benefit all citizens. He said his work and life experiences would benefit him when working through issues in Jefferson City.

“I’ve led people, I’ve had to work through people to get things done. From that perspective, I understand the budget, the way dollars work,” Kerns said. “I did grow up in rural Missouri so I bring to the table a different background than a lot of people that represent the St. Louis region, in that I can understand and talk to the majority of people in Jefferson City today.”

Some key issues Kerns sees in the race are education support, Medicaid and support for senior citizens.

He said the shortage of teachers and support staff in Missouri schools shows the need for more emphasis on education. Another aspect of schools he’d like to see improved is the A+ Program — the program provides an associates degree scholarship at certain schools for qualifying students.

“You can’t use it at all Missouri universities … I think that should be able to be used everywhere in the state. Not every school district is eligible to have their seniors graduate with A+, so I’d like to see all the high schools eligible for it as well,” Kerns said. 

Medicaid and support for seniors are closely related issues for Kerns. He said the backlog of Medicaid data is so long it has caused his 99-year-old grandmother to go months in a nursing home without official documentation.

“We’ve got to understand that by funding Medicaid and funding it the way voters told us to fund it a couple years ago … the funding means that people as they’re seniors and every person eligible for it has a better life and I think we have to keep that in mind,” Kerns said.

A goal for Kerns if he takes office is to cap property tax for seniors. He said while canvassing the area a main concern for seniors is “skyrocketing property tax” while they live on a fixed income. 

Kerns’ opponent Murphy, has won the 94th District seat the past two elections. Kerns said Murphy’s beliefs are “very extreme” on most issues, citing abortion specifically, where Murphy’s campaign website states “100% Pro-Life.”

“He’s taken extreme positions on so many of those issues. On the abortion issue, I’m pro-choice and he is extremely pro-life with no exceptions for rape or incest,” Kerns said. “He is just so far to the right and I think the vast majority of the people in the district are way more moderate, which is where I come from. We need to represent the people and be more in the middle than he is.”

The election is Tuesday, Nov. 8. 

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