In May 2017, my son Aidan was diagnosed with a glioblastoma brain tumor. As a small business owner, my family receives our health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, or what is commonly referred to as Obamacare. Without the protections of the ACA, this type of diagnosis would have most certainly resulted in services and claims being denied. Health care is a very personal issue for me and my family. Fighting for my son's health care was the motivating factor in my decision to run for political office.
My name is Jim Klenc (rhymes with "common sense"). I am 44 years old. I’m a father, lawyer, and proud Democrat. My family has lived in Missouri since the 1890s, over six generations. I have lived in the district since 2005. Like many in St. Charles County, my roots lie in North St. Louis City and North St. Louis County. My dad was a public school teacher, and my mom was a stay at home mom. Both of my grandfathers served in World War II. One grandfather was a janitor for the St. Louis City Public Schools, while the other was a union bread truck driver before becoming a small business owner selling nuts and bolts.
After twelve years of Catholic school, I graduated from St. Louis University High School in 1992. I went to Bradley University and double majored in English and Political Science, graduating with honors in three years. I graduated from St. Louis University School of Law in 1999. I have been a lawyer for 19 years and am the owner of my own law firm in St. Charles County for the past 8 years.
I know the value of hard work. My first job was busing tables at 13 years old at a reception hall for $20 a night. While attending law school, I was a member of UFCW Local 655, working at a local grocery store. Since becoming a lawyer with my own firm, my business focuses on providing quality, affordable legal services to mainly middle and lower income families. I help those who often do not have the means, financial or otherwise, to protect themselves. I am experienced with going up against the big banks and corporations and always being the underdog.
In addition to being a lawyer, I am also an entrepreneur who recently owned and operated a small cell phone business for several years in St. Charles County.
I am active in the community. My volunteer work includes coaching baseball and soccer teams in O'Fallon and St. Peters, and football for the Jr. Bulldogs football program. I have volunteered time to help various organizations including St. Charles Oktoberfest, Polish Falcons Festival, various CYC athletic tournaments, and church picnics/festivals. In law school, I volunteered my time at the legal clinic providing legal assistance to low income individuals and earned a nomination as a finalist for the David Grant Clinic Student award.
My business has also provided financial support for local events including the O'Fallon Heritage and Freedom Fest, the Fort Zumwalt South High School choir program, and the Friends of Kids with Cancer Fashion Show.
I am a single dad with two teenagers. Anna recently graduated from Fort Zumwalt South High and is attending Truman State University. Aidan is a junior at South High.
As with many of us, I have many bad decisions in my life for which I regret. One of those decisions occurred in June 2011. After having too much to drink after a Cardinals/Cubs baseball game, I made the foolish decision to drive home. Luckily, no one was hurt or injured as a result of that decision. However, getting a DWI did change my life forever. I am no longer reckless in my decision making when it comes to drinking and driving, and I encourage others every chance I get to avoid the same mistake I made.
All of my life experiences whether it is having a kid with cancer, or going through a divorce, or losing a job a week before Christmas, have made me a better person, a stronger person, and a more empathetic person. I think the greatest quality a politician can have is empathy. I know what it is like to need help. I know what it is like to have the struggles of everyday life. But I also know what it takes to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and fight back.
I am asking for your vote on November 6, 2018.