The rigors of political campaigns can be difficult on the candidates, but they can be even tougher on the families of the candidates. Republican gubernatorial candidates Kenny Hulshof and Sarah Steelman have been fortunate enough to have their families join them for various campaign events throughout the state. And, for the most part, the experiences have been good.
Hulshof’s wife, Renee, has spent time with the outgoing Congressman during many of his events, but has also gone out on her own to campaign on behalf of the man who wants to be Missouri’s next Governor. This is something Renee wants to do as she makes sure her priority remains being "Mom" to her two young daughters – Casey and Hanna. "My first job," says Renee, "Is to take care of them and to keep our home going since Kenny’s not there. And, that struggle right there – that pull of two priorities – has probably been the most difficult challenge for me."
Steelman’s husband, David, is in a different position from Renee, having been a state legislator. And, the Steelman children were part of statewide race in 2004 when their mother ran for State Treasurer. But the lights being shone on the Governor’s race are brighter than anything they’ve seen in the past. Sam, Joe, and Michael Steelman have each spent time campaigning with their mother.
19-year-old Michael says this has been a good time for the family to get closer. But after a few days on the road the fatigue starts to set in. "The days I’m with her," says Joe, "I’m completely worn out and then she has to get up the next morning and do it again."
13-year-old Michael is enjoying the ride. "We still take Sundays off to go to church … and it is fun. We get to spend some family bonding time."
Hectic? Absolutely. But it’s clear Renee Hulshof and the Steelman boys are taking advantage of this experience – an experience that, for one of the families, comes to an end on Tuesday.