Our Honorary ChairsUnited States Senator, Missouri
Claire McCaskill is a 4th-generation Missourian who has spent her entire life in the Show-Me State. Born in Rolla and raised in Lebanon and Columbia, Claire has never forgotten her roots. Claire’s first home was Houston, Missouri, where her father William worked at the McCaskill feed mill. Later, the family moved to Lebanon, hometown of Claire’s mother, Betty Anne, where her mother’s family ran the corner drugstore in town.
After another move, Claire attended Hickman High School in Columbia, while her father served as a state insurance commissioner after returning home from WWII and her mother became Columbia’s first woman city council member. At Hickman High School, Claire graduated near the top of her class and was deeply involved in student activities, while also working in a fabric store since she sewed many of her own clothes.
The day after graduation, Claire left town for a job bussing tables at Lodge of the Four Seasons at Lake of the Ozarks. Waitressing for six years helped Claire work her way through college and law school at the University of Missouri in Columbia.
Claire clerked for the Missouri Court of Appeals in Kansas City and then got a job as an assistant prosecutor in Kansas City, where she was a felony trial prosecutor handling sex crimes, homicides, and specializing in arson cases. In 1982, McCaskill won a seat in the State Legislature. She juggled the responsibilities of both mother and legislator and was the first woman to ever give birth while she was an active member of the Missouri Legislature.
Claire broke new ground again in 1993 when she became the first female Jackson County Prosecutor, which included Kansas City. This was the largest prosecutor’s office in the state and she began many new programs, including a domestic violence unit and one of the nation’s first Drug Courts. She held this position until she was sworn in as Missouri Auditor in 1999.
As State Auditor, Claire has been credited for revolutionizing the office and making it into a true watchdog for taxpayers and citizens. In 2004, Claire took on her own party establishment and became the first person to ever defeat a sitting Missouri governor in a primary election.
In November of 2006, Claire became the first woman elected to the United States Senate from Missouri, vowing to bring Harry Truman’s no-nonsense style of accountability back to Washington. It only seemed fitting that her place in the Senate chamber is desk shared by none other than Senator Truman himself.
Claire sits on five Senate Committees, including Armed Services, Commerce, Homeland Security and Government Affairs, Aging, and Indian Affairs. Additionally, Claire was named as one of the select Senators to sit on the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, formerly known as the Truman Committee.
After a busy week in Washington, Claire returns home to St. Louis to a full house. After seven years as a single mom, Claire married Joseph Shepard, a St. Louis businessman, in April 2002. Together they have seven children: Benjamin, 31, Carl, 29, Marilyn, 27, Michael, 24, Austin, 19, Maddie, 17 and Lily, 15. Claire’s 78 year old mother Betty Anne lives with the family and continues to join her on trips around Missouri.
Claire is a member of St. Gerard Majella Catholic Church in St. Louis.