By Chance Chamberlain
After the conclusion of a career in teaching Donna Pfautsch was not through with public service. As a result, she began an entirely new career as State Rep. for District 33. Pfautsch was elected in 2013 and recently ended her stint in Jefferson City after reaching the term limit.
She said, “It was a great honor to have served the people of District 33 and my life has always been about public service, so I would say I have been fulfilled so far.” With more than 20 years of experience as the head of a classroom, Pfautsch credits her experience in leadership with making the transit to politics easier.
“When I worked for the kids in the classroom, I always asked them to learn something new and to challenge themselves every day. I also asked them to make a difference and I feel like my time as a representative gave me the opportunity to live out what I preached in class,” Pfautsch said.
“It was truly a 180-degree turn because I was not a career politician. I wanted to demonstrate my message and I wanted to take on a new challenge.”
At the beginning of her time in Jefferson City, Pfautsch said there were many learning curves, but that her willingness to prepare for the job through extensive research made her believe there was no problem too difficult.
“I look at everything as a challenge that needs to be faced, so when I first started in politics, I started by becoming mentally prepared for anything that was thrown my way. I learned how things worked by listening and reading as much as I could,” she said. “I quickly learned how busy I would be, but through doing my homework and paying attention to how my colleagues operated, I was prepared for my duties.”
According to Pfautsch, one of the most valuable lessons she learned prior to assuming position as a state representative, was the importance of teamwork.
“When you are working with Congress and the Senate, you truly never experience isolation because everything requires teamwork. That is something I always taught in my classes because in life, you must work with others to accomplish goals and tasks.
“I used many of my skills from the classroom, but the ability to work with others toward a common goal was key,” Pfautsch said.
When faced with difficulties during her representation of District 33, Pfautsch looked at adversity as a positive occurrence. She attributes this outlook to the ideologies instilled in her throughout her life.
“I do not look at life or adversity in a negative light. If something must be done, I do whatever it takes to get it done and I work harder to take the necessary steps to ensure I fulfill my duties. I always knew I would get through any challenge if I remained true to myself and kept the common interest of the people of District 33 at the forefront,” she said.
Although the job challenged her daily, Pfautsch said she loved her time as District 33 State Rep. and she will miss many aspects of her daily duties.
“My favorite parts of the job were being able to solve problems to help people while working hard to make changes for the better of the people in District 33. I loved to support my people when they called because often, people do not understand that representatives can help whenever they call,” she said. “I also enjoyed the people I worked with each day and the diversity of the people in Missouri. No matter if you are from north, east, south or west Missouri, you are different, but we are one Missouri.”
The future is unclear for Pfautsch because she is exploring multiple endeavors to keep herself occupied. She has never been the type of person to take a break and she does not have plans for that just yet.
“I have contacted the governor’s office to inquire about service on various boards, but I want to be in a position of service,” she said. “Currently, I am being very cautious with COVID-19 and am wearing my mask and am bring tested regularly so I can spend time with my grandkids. That is what is most important to me at this time.”
Although the future is uncertain for her, Pfautsch said there is a greater purpose for her.
“I have learned that leadership is not always being in charge. Sometimes it is about posing a question and listening for answers. That is how I will figure out what is next for me because the Lord has a plan for me and I must be willing to listen to him. So, I do not know what is next, but there is always something coming up,” she said.