Legislator of the Week: Missouri State Senator Bob Onder

This Week, ALEC and FreedomWorks introduce Missouri State Senator Robert (Bob) Onder. Senator Onder has served the residents of Missouri’s second Senatorial District in St. Charles County since 2015. He’s continuing his service in the Senate, as he previously served in the Missouri House of Representatives from 2007 to 2008. Senator Onder has been a physician and small business owner for over 20 years. He is a graduate of Washington University School of Medicine and St. Louis University School of Law. In 2015, his first year in office, Senator Onder was elected by his peers to serve as the Assistant Majority Floor Leader in the Missouri Senate. That same year he received the Freshman Legislator of the Year award from the Missouri Chamber of Commerce., He also received the Legislator of the Year award from the Missouri Century Foundation, , a legislative award from the Missouri Academy of Family, a legislative excellence award from the Missouri Dental Association, and, was named a Champion of Freedom by the Missouri Alliance for Freedom. Senator Onder lives in Lake Saint Louis with his wife, Allison, and their six children.

Why did you run for office?

I ran for the Missouri State Senate in 2014 because I was concerned with the direction the state and our country were going, and I felt called to do something about it.  I believed, and still believe, that the principles of small government and economic opportunity are critical to move our state and our country forward.

What is your favorite thing about Missouri?

I love Missouri because it is a place of common sense, conservative values, and Midwestern friendliness.  Most places in Missouri have a small town feel, and our number one industry is agriculture, yet Missouri is a leader in biotech, medicine, and finance.   

In your view, what is the biggest issue facing Missouri?

While Missouri has Republican supermajorities in both chambers of the legislature and a Republican Governor, our state is threatened by several ballot initiatives that would undo much of our success of the last decade.  A referendum in August could repeal Right to Work and a misnamed initiative in November known as Clean Missouri would manipulate redistricting to elect more progressives to Congress and the state legislature.

If you could “wave your magic wand,” what would you like to see immediately implemented in Missouri?

If I could wave a magic wand, I would like to see Missouri become the 28th Freedom to Work state.

Do you serve on any committees, if so which committees and why? How do you think you have impacted them?

I chair the General Laws committee where I have shepherded labor reform measures such as government union reform, right to Work, prevailing wage reform, and repeal of union-only project labor agreements. I am also a member of the Education Committee where I authored and passed legislation to allow public school students the choice to take online courses they need to succeed.  On the Ways and Means Committee I have championed tax cuts.

What project or law are you most proud of?

My most important accomplishment has been this year’s passage of the Government Union Accountability Act. Reforms included in this bill include recertification elections, financial transparency, the requirement for annual dues authorization, openness in collective bargaining, and limitations on release time.

How has ALEC helped you as a legislator?

ALEC is a tremendous resource in many ways including its publications which are very valuable.  I go to at least one meeting a year, and the opportunity to learn from and network with my colleagues in other states is invaluable.

Can you share a fun fact about yourself that’s not in your official bio?

I’m working on my private pilot license right now, and on a couple of recent flights I experienced the joy of “moderate turbulence” in a Cessna 150. My instructor kept reminding me to rely on my training and “keep flying the airplane.” I think of it as a fitting metaphor for life in the political arena.