Cupps points to farming, teaching background as qualifications
Shell Knob farmer aims to be logical with politics if elected
A former teacher and now full-time farmer, Shell Knob resident Scott Cupps, 34, is hoping to replace Scott Fitzpatrick, former Representative appointed State Treasurer, and he is putting a focus on logic and facts prior to the election.
Cupps was born and raised in Shell Knob and handles the cattle side of his family farm operation. He said that and his work as a teacher has prepared him for a career in politics.
“I always assumed I would be a farmer full time, just not this soon,” he said. “Farming is indescribable because you clock in at age 4 and you never really clock out. It’s a life. We joke it’s nice to go to church on Sundays, because it’s uplifting and because it helps us keep our weeks straight.”
Cupps said as the former Ag teacher at Cassville High School, and with family and a wife who all teach, education has played a big role in his life, as well.
“I still get texts and calls from former students and friends looking for help because they know the teacher in me will help guide them in the right direction,” Cupps said. “I want to take that same approach into the political arena.
“I have learned fast that in politics there is a pageantry, some pandering and some showmanship involved, but we have a job as elected officials and public servants to make sure we use valid information.”
Cupps said he becomes frustrated when people give opinions based only in emotion and not in fact.
“It’s easy to get extremely passionate about something without actually concerning yourself with facts,” he said. “I want to be a voice of reason and logic. You can’t disregard the reality. You have to settle down, bring in the facts and make the best decisions for now and for 10, 50 and 100 years from now.
“A lot of things may sound great on the surface, but they don’t last. We’ve seen that in the financial sector and with things like No Child Left Behind.”
Cupps said his experience in practical agriculture, working every day while watching the markets and weather, plus his work as a teacher, goes hand in hand with finding the right fits for legislative solutions.
“I want to be logical, level and factual,” he said. “I believe that if you choose to make it, this district is one of the best in the country to make a living. We have a lot of opportunity here. If you have the desire to live a quality, Christian, value-added life, you can do that here.”
Cupps acknowledged there are some issues.
“We do have some drug problems and socio-economic issues, which may be related to the drug problems under the surface,” Cupps said. “We do need to address those things. Some of that can be done with regulation, but it’s our duty to make sure the government works for the people and the people are not slaves of the government.”
Cupps said he is pro-life and pro-Second Amendment, and he does not agree with legislation that cripples those that follow laws.
“It is my duty to protect the personal rights and civil liberties of my constituents,” he said.
About 100 people were on hand on May 7 as the 158th District Republican Legislative Committee met at the historic Barry County Courthouse, ultimately to nominate Cupps as the Republican to run in the Nov. 5 special election for the State House.
Cupps was nominated by Barry County Collector Janice Varner. Bob Whitescarver then nominated Cassville banker Landon Fletcher, and Jerry Varner, owner of Making Memories Tours in Washburn nominated himself.
After each of the nominated persons gave a 5-minute speech, an anonymous vote was cast by 29 of the 32 total members of the Committee. Cupps received 20 votes, Fletcher earned 5, and Varner got 3. There was one abstention.
“I don’t think anyone could be more excited to go serve,” Cupps said after the vote tally was announced. “I appreciate the opportunity, and I can’t put into words how good of a job Scott Fitzpatrick has done, and I’ll be looking to follow in his footsteps.”
In closing, Cupps turned to the back of the Barry County Commissioners’ office and pointed out the “In God We Trust” sign above the state seal.
“I see that and it reminds me that it’s our morals and our values that make ‘here’ one of the best places to live,” he said.
Fitzpatrick said he is looking forward to working alongside Cupps on the state level.
“I’d like to thank the committee for their quick work to select a nominee for the 158th District seat in the House of Representatives,” Fitzpatrick said. “The committee had three incredible people to choose from, and I want to thank Landon Fletcher and Jerry Varner for their service to our community and their interest in the position. As I told the committee, they had three great people to choose from, and I would support whoever they chose.
“Scott Cupps is fully qualified and ready to serve as the Representative for the 158th district. I look forward to working alongside him in my role as Treasurer once he is elected.”
Cherry Warren is the chairman of the Republican Committee and officiated the meeting.
The 158th District State House seat represents Barry County and portions of Lawrence and Stone counties.