Freshman in the House: Trish Gunby sworn in to represent west St. Louis County in state legislature

Trish Gunby, a Ballwin Democrat, waits for the start of the 2020 legislative session session in Jefferson City. Gunby represents West St. Louis County.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri General Assembly session opened Wednesday, with 11 new members sworn in here at noon, including Trish Gunby, the Ballwin Democrat who won a high-profile special election last fall, replacing Republican Jean Evans, who resigned to take a position with the Missouri Republican Party.

Her win in a predominantly Republican House district earned her a special mention in remarks by House Minority Leader Crystal Quade in an afternoon news conference at the Capitol, who hopes it is a sign of things to come.

For her part, Gunby sounds like someone who has been itching to go since November.

“I kind of feel like I’ve been in the waiting game to get to this point, while I’m able to pre-file bills and do things like that I’m really excited to just start doing the work so now I’m official,” she said after the first day of business wrapped up.

Her first pre-filed bill would attach tax credits to purchases related to gun safety, such as a gun safe. House Speaker Elijah Haahr was hesitant to identify much in the way of specifics Wednesday when it came to pre-filed legislation that was designed to tackle the St. Louis region and the state’s issues related to violent crime. He did voice support for legislation to address witness protection.

Gunby said she’s a realist in understanding that Democrats are outnumbered in both chambers in Jefferson City but that when it comes to dealing with crime and gun violence, the issue is not going away.

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