Jeanie Lauer of Blue Springs, the Republican incumbent in the 54th District of the Missouri House of Representatives, is seeking the seat in the new 32nd District against a man, Democrat Sherbaz Khan of Kansas City, who does not now live inside the district.

Jeanie Lauer of Blue Springs, the Republican incumbent in the 54th District of the Missouri House of Representatives, is seeking the seat in the new 32nd District against a man, Democrat Sherbaz Khan of Kansas City, who does not now live inside the district.

Because of the state’s redistricting, the new 32nd encompasses most of Grain Valley and Oak Grove, the northern and eastern parts of Blue Springs and the unincorporated areas of Jackson County north of those three cities. Also because of redistricting, candidates who do not live in the district are allowed to run there, though they would need to move to that district if elected. Both ran unopposed in their party primary in August.

Lauer, who is president of the Timothy Lutheran Church congregation in Blue Springs, already lives in the 32nd. The former Blue Springs City Council member – the founder and owner of The Management Edge, a business consulting firm – says her experience in the local and state governments sets her apart from Khan, who owns and operates an automotive repair and sales company.

“First of all, I am a resident of this district,” Lauer said. “I have served it in many capacities, so I have a great understanding of what the communities in it need. And I have the experience there as a legislator.

“I think being able to get a bill through and get it signed by the governor is an example of my knowledge of the needs of the community and the legislative priorities of the community.”

The bill Lauer sponsored, named “Kelsey’s Law” for Kelsey Smith, who was murdered in 2007, requires phone companies to help law enforcement agencies track the cell phone signal of 911 callers or find a phone’s location in cases of danger of death or serious physical injury. It went into effect in August.

Khan, a native of Pakistan and a Kansas State graduate, says on his campaign website that, like Lauer, “small business empowerment” is a major focus of his campaign. Khan, who did not respond to requests for an interview, also lists economic development, senior citizen care, education, jobs creation, family values and “creating a discoursed diverse community” as other campaign themes. Khan is an executive member of the Missouri Democratic Party Asian American Caucus and a national delegate to that caucus.

Lauer said education and helping local small businesses will be priorities for her if re-elected.

“Certainly education is the big one … especially with the judge ruling that Blue Springs has to accept students from Kansas City’s unaccredited district,” Lauer said. “We have to make sure our schools maintain their integrity while finding a solution for unaccredited districts, so education reform is a big deal.”

Lauer said she also wants to help small businesses remove regulations and red tape.

“It has to do with decreasing regulations, and they have to have the support of various agencies to do business in a fast and efficient way,” she said. “We have to create a climate for them to do that with job training, job retention and workforce development.”

Lauer is endorsed by the Missouri AFL-CIO, the Missouri National Education Association, the National Rifle Association and the Missouri Chamber PAC. No endorsements for Khan were listed on his campaign website or on votesmart.org.