SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A local race is receiving a lot of attention as the seat was flipped by fewer than 100 votes last election cycle.

In the race for Missouri House District 135, Republican AJ Exner faces off against Democrat incumbent Betsy Fogle.

The candidates are expecting another close race. 

Ozarksfirst sat down with both candidates on Wednesday to let them tell voters more about themselves.

“Came here for school to Springfield, Missouri, and really just settled in from there,” said Exner. “My first job here, I was with the Missouri State Highway Patrol in the crime laboratory as a DNA analyst for them.”

“I was born and raised here in Springfield,” said Fogle. “I went to Missouri State for my undergraduate, got a degree in sociology and masters in the same field, and then worked at a place called Jordan Valley Community Health Center.”

District 135 covers east and northeast Springfield.

“What people here want are strong public schools that educate all of our children, access to health care that allows them to get care and not have to spend all their money on it, and jobs that allow them to care for their families,” said Fogle.

“I have two young boys, six and one, as well as my wife,” said Exner. “We’ve just felt a lot of the pressures that Springfield has faced. So, for me, it’s been families. First, the main priorities are providing for the family, protecting the family, and preparing the family.”

We asked the candidates to talk about potential solutions to combat the effects of inflation.

“The record inflation that we have, it’s going to impact state projects as well,” said Exner. “Especially when we have a big influx of federal dollars with ARPA money, and it’s really important to make sure that we have that money on hand as a state to finish these projects, so you don’t have a bunch of unfinished projects.”

“Making sure that Missourians have access to the workforce, access to childcare,” said Fogle. “I also supported giving Missourians back their taxpayer dollars, which was something that most of my Democratic colleagues did not.”

Both candidates urge people to head to the polls come Election Day.