State Senator Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, and his wife have noticed at least ten incidents over the last two months in which they have been followed, often with their children. In several cases, he says the individuals were sitting in his street or would follow them home. In another instance, neighbor reported seeing a couple of men sitting in front of Rowden’s house and then going into their backyard.
Rowden has written a blog about some of the incidents because he says the “flashpoint” came when a man in disguise approached to his front door at night and ran off after ringing the doorbell.
“For the safety of the family, you have to assume the worst and hope that it’s not that. I don’t know what of these things are connected and if it’s a coordinated thing, if it’s just crazy people being crazy. We don’t know the answer to those questions. But I think in the interest of making sure that we are prepared for anything, that was part of the reason for the kind of public conversation the other day was to say ‘Hey look, we know that this is going on. You guys aren’t in the shadows any longer,’” says Rowden.
Officers have increased patrolling in his neighborhood. His family remains under the same roof – with more focus on safety measures.
“The reason why I got into public service in the first place was just to try to make a difference, try to make the world a better place for the kids – not just my kids but everybody else’s, too. It’s our house. It’s our life and we aren’t going to let anybody stand in the way of that. We’re going to hold our heads up and keep fighting,” he says.
Rowden, the Missouri Senate Majority Leader, says he has not experienced incidents like this while serving in public office. As he states in his blog, he is urging the public to raise the bar.
“It’s a good learning moment. I mean, we all have to do better,” he says. “That’s the one thing that I’ve tried to use this for good is to say ‘Hey look, our disagreements on substance really aren’t that much different than they’ve been for the last 20, 30 years or even longer than that. But the way in which we are carrying those out obviously seems to be looking different and increasingly problematic.’”
The Highway Patrol is also investigating a campaign text delivered last weekend falsely claiming he is dropping out of his bid for re-election. Rowden responded on Twitter saying he remains in the race. His opponent, Democrat and former state Representative Judy Baker, has publicly condemned the texting incident.
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