Note: As we near the August primary election, Valley News will highlight candidates on your local ballot. The first in our series is a discussion with Janic Brill, Democratic candidate for Missouri State Representative, District 32.
This coming November, Janice Brill will be running as the Democratic candidate for a seat in the Missouri House of Representatives, representing District 32. She will be running against incumbent Jeff Coleman who has held the seat since 2019.
Brill has resided in Grain Valley for nearly 16 years and is a retired English and Social Studies teacher, with a bachelor's degree in History and Political Science, as well as a master’s degree in History. Brill was also on the city council in Norwood, Missouri.
This is Brill's second time running for a seat in the House, having run in 2018. Brill's primary motivation for running is to give the voters a choice at the polls.
“It goes against my understanding of our system for anyone to run unopposed,” Brill said. Brill would also like to do a better job at representing the people and beliefs of District 32, citing specific examples such as a minimum wage increase and the choice to not become a right to work state which were both voted in favor of in District 32 but not supported by Coleman.
As a former educator, Brill would like to see more of an emphasis put on education statewide, as well as an increase in teacher pay. While she is happy with the funds the school district does receive from the state government, she believes “there could be even more. It’s one of those [issues] where we’re gonna make up for years of underfunding by doing this small thing.”
She also plans to push back against efforts by legislators in Jefferson City to control curriculum in public schools. Brill instead believes local districts, with input from board members, parents, and teachers make curriculum-based decisions.
Brill also emphasized her support of small businesses, including family farms. Brill lived and worked on a family beef farm for 13 years with her husband.
“I feel I have an insight into what the family farm is fighting against.”
One thing that may come as a surprise is that Brill is not raising any money for her campaign. She says her campaign is “powered by the people” and not through the typical donations you would see from other campaigns. Brill made it a point to acknowledge that the people are the most crucial part of the democratic process. She wants to combat efforts to suppress voters at the polls and would like to make it easier for an average person to start initiative petitions, which have threatened in Missouri in the past.
Brill encourages everyone to attend city council and school board meetings and encourages everyone to go out and vote. Brill is also open to a formal debate with current representative Jeff Coleman and is looking forward to the election this November.