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Cunningham, Jane

Former Missouri State Senator

Senator Jane Cunningham (R-St. Louis, Missouri) served twelve years in the Missouri House of Representatives and Senate before redistricting eliminated her district in January of 2013.

She was Chairwoman of the Education Committee in the Missouri House and the General Laws Committee in the Senate where all the education reform bills were directed among other heavy lifting legislation such as Right to Work. Senator Cunningham is best known for her work at the local, state and national levels to promote educational options and parental choice for families and education reforms such as tenure elimination, educator evaluations based on student growth and achievement and open enrollment. She was an innovator at developing coalitions across party and racial lines for these efforts. One of her converts, Missouri Rep. Rodney Hubbard(D-St. Louis), was honored by The Center for Education Reform and ALEC. Senator Cunningham is responsible for bringing the American Board teacher certification and virtual schools to Missouri and for her Student Protection Act that protects students from sexual misconduct by educators.

Senator Cunningham was also the sponsor of the first Health Care Freedom Act in the country that was overwhelmingly adopted at the ballot by 70% of Missouri voters in 2010. She was interviewed on Fox News Shows and other national media outlets interested in the resounding message the Show-Me State sent to Washington that Missourians want to make their own health care decisions.

She was chairwoman of the Education Task Force, and served on the Board of Directors of the American Legislative Exchange Council, the largest voluntary organization of legislators and business leaders in the country. She was also a delegate to the 1992 Republican National Convention, and was the only woman representing Missouri on the 1992 Republican National Platform Committee, serving with John Ashcroft, former Missouri Governor and U.S. Attorney General.

Senator Cunningham’s work has been recognized with the following awards:
• The National Leaders in Learning Award, presented by Cable in the Classroom, which annually recognizes the most innovative education policymakers in the country.
• St. Louis Business Journal Legislator of the Year Award.
• St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association Statesman Award.

She received her Bachelor of Science degree in business administration, with an emphasis in economics and marketing from Florida State University. Senator Cunningham is married to Gary Cunningham, a former Presidential appointee, who served in the U.S. Department of Justice and as Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development from 2004-2009. They have two grown sons: Bret, Principal and President of BestFit Mobile in Austin, Texas, and Scott, a Lieutenant in U.S. Navy Intelligence stationed in Cambridge, England.