Former Springfield Councilwoman Angela Romine is challenging incumbent Sen. Lincoln Hough in the 30th Senate District, which consists almost entirely of the city of Springfield. (Photos by Jack McGee)

Lincoln Hough is a Springfield native seeking reelection in Missouri’s 30th Senate District this fall and he is proud to run on his experience and his record in Jefferson City. But first, he must survive a challenge from the right by former city Councilwoman Angela Romine, who chose to run after less than a year on the city council and thinks voters are frustrated with the work of Hough and others in the state capital.

Voters in the reshaped 30th District, which consists almost entirely of the city of Springfield, will go to the polls Aug. 2, with the victor going on to face Democrat Raymond Lampert in the Nov. 8 general election.

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Hough previously served as a Representative for Missouri’s 135th District for three terms from 2011 to 2017, Greene County Commissioner in 2017 and 2018, and was elected to the state Senate in 2018 to serve a four-year term. 

Hough is a Missouri State University graduate from Springfield, and owner of a cattle ranch. 

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Lincoln Hough, the incumbent in Senate District 30, seeks reelection the fall, but first must win the Republican primary in August. (Photo by Jack McGee)

“Springfield is home, it’s always been home, it’s a community that I care about,” Hough said in an interview with the Springfield Daily Citizen. “I feel incredibly fortunate to work in Jefferson City since 2011.”

He currently serves on a number of Senate committees, including Economic Development, and Governmental Accountability and Fiscal Oversight. If re-elected, he is in line to serve as the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. 

Hough has won numerous awards as senator, including the Missouri State University Foundation Government Excellence Award and Missouri Chamber of Commerce Spirit of Enterprise. 

Hough recently took part in a divisive legislative session in Jefferson City, one that saw the drawing of new congressional districts, infighting between different Republican factions and handling of the largest budget in state history. He has spent most of his political career focusing on the budget process. 

“The future of our state and its economic potential are directly impacted by the legislation and budget work we pass today,” Hough said in a statement on the 2022 legislative session, listing some of his accomplishments. “I am proud of the work put into this legislative session and am thankful to be able to serve the 30th Senatorial District as state senator.”

Some of Hough’s primary concerns are education funding and advocating for local government.

“I think education is a thing that can change generational issues in the community,” Hough said. “I think when people are afforded opportunities to better themselves and have the support from the state, we’re all in a better spot.”

Regarding his primary challenger in Romine, Hough intends to run his campaign similar to how he always has.

“I don’t campaign against opponents,” Hough said. “I campaign on my record, and what I’ve been doing the last few years in Jefferson City. What you’ll see is the campaign on my team that talks about the successes that we as a community have had based on the leadership that we’ve got [in Jefferson City] right now.”

Romine was elected to Springfield City Council in April 2021 as several incumbents were challenged amid differences they held with constituents over COVID-related policies. Less than a year later, Romine vacated her seat on the council in February 2022, after encouragement from supporters to challenge Hough in the Republican primary. According to the city charter, council members’ seats immediately become vacant when they file to become a candidate or hold any other lucrative public office.

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Local business owner and former Springfield City Councilwoman Angela Romine looks to unseat Lincoln Hough in the Republican primary in the 30th Senate District. (Photo by Jack McGee)

“I know so many in our community are frustrated with what is going on in Jefferson City,” Romine said in an interview. “Time and time again, we voted no on measures like the gas tax, and yet they still find ways to get them passed. I hear your frustrations, as I feel them too.”

Running for state office was not an easy decision, according to Romine. She was still learning the ropes of city council before being approached about challenging Senator Hough. Initially, she had said no, but said that upon prayer and looking further into Hough’s voting record, she chose to pursue the Republican nomination. 

Romine was born in Munich, and her first language is Spanish, as her father was in the military and mother from Mexico City. She followed in her father’s footsteps and served in the military for three years, before being medically discharged. Eventually, she and her husband decided to move to Springfield, as he was from the nearby Mount Vernon.

“I would always hear that Springfield is this big-little community,” Romine said. “And that’s what the military is, we look out for each other when spouses are abroad or in training and I liked the feeling of it and it felt like home. When we wanted to settle down and stop moving, he asked me where I wanted to move and I said Springfield.”

Romine’s platform includes supporting medical freedom, Voter ID laws and increased school security. She has received endorsements from the anti-abortion PAC Missouri Right to Life and also the conservative Missouri Republican Assembly

As a state senator, Romine hopes to address and redirect funding from unnecessary or underperforming programs into areas where the money could be better spent — or not used at all. 

“Sometimes you need to redirect funds to get better results,” Romine said. “Overall, you want to ensure a good return on your investment. Spending more money on something not going in the direction it is supposed to go is wasteful, and throwing more money at it is not the solution. All the government seems to do is look for ways to get more of our money without thinking of how it will impact its citizens.”

Romine said that she aims to vote more in line with what is best for her constituency, and protect people’s God-given rights. Lincoln Hough’s voting record signifies that he doesn’t always have the citizens in mind, according to Romine.

“It’s supposed to be of the people, by the people and for the people,” Romine said.

Each candidate faces a unique challenge following the redrawing of district lines during Missouri’s 2022 legislative session. The new 30th Senate District lost some northwest rural voters and spread further south, all the way to the border of Christian and Greene counties.

The primary election will be held August 2, and the final day to register for vote is July 6. Voters will be given the choice between Romine, Hough or a write-in candidate for the Republican nominee and Raymond Lampert or a write-in candidate for the Democratic nominee.

Jack McGee is a general assignment reporter at the Springfield Daily Citizen, with a focus on regional politics. McGee most recently worked at Carbon Trace Productions, a documentary film company, as a producer. He’s a Missouri State University graduate and former reporter at student-led newspaper The Standard.