A self-described “proud gay dad and husband” has thrown his hat in the race for the soon-to-be-vacant U.S. Senate seat in Missouri.
Entrepreneur and political activist Timothy Shepard is a native Missourian who grew up just north of Kansas City. The progressive Democrat is among several candidates who have announced their intention to run for the U.S. Senate seat that will be vacated next year by Republican Roy Blunt.
“As an openly gay father and husband, I am running to bring that representation to the U.S. Senate,” Shepard said.
“Missouri and its people have shown me what it means to take care of one another. I understand the unique struggles faced in both rural and urban areas because I’ve lived them,” he added.
While sharing some of his personal and family history online, Shepard credited his church and local community with being the first to support him when he came out as gay.
“It was on a fundraising trip back home in Missouri, in a time of intense prayer and searching, where I reconciled my faith and sexuality,” he said. “My Kansas City faith community walked alongside me as we asked hard questions about how we engage our faith and each other. It was in this service, surrounded by thoughtful Missourians, that I would pivot from missions abroad to helping LGBTQ folks here at home find hope again.”
After his missionary work and LGBTQ activism within the church, Shepard said he ended his formal education and got to work on his own career designing and producing websites. He joined the team at Groupon and moved to Chicago, and later spent a stint couch-surfing in NYC until he landed a contract gig with a large financial services firm.
Shepard’s company eventually moved him to Tennessee, where he says he met “a boyfriend who became the love of my life and my husband, our beautiful daughter, and clarity of purpose.”
Lacking roots in Tennessee, Shepard and his family moved back to Missouri and decided to dedicate their lives to public service “in the fullest way possible.”
“And so we arrive at this renewed emphasis in my life in dedication to public service,” Shepard said.
According to the St.Louis Post-Dispatch, potential Republican candidates for the Senate seat will likely include former Republican Gov. Eric Greitens, U.S. Reps. Ann Wagner of Ballwin, Jason Smith of Salem and Billy Long of Springfield. Other Democratic potentials include Marine veteran and political newcomer Lucas Kunce, and former Democratic state Sen. Scott Sifton.