JEFFERSON CITY, MO — Mike Bernskoetter, who along with wife Jeannette, owns and operates Art's Pest Control, Jefferson City, Mo., was elected as a Missouri state representative on Nov. 2.
Bernskoetter, a Republican, captured 64 percent of the vote over Democrat Cyrus Dashtaki in the 113th District state House seat in eastern Jefferson City and Cole County.
“I’m a small business owner and like most business owners around here, and around the country, I saw the need for creating jobs, lowering taxes and getting people back to work,” Bernskoetter told PCT. "I think that was the main thing that resonated with voters.”
What’s remarkable about Bernskoetter’s election win is that prior to entering the race he had no political experience. “About nine months ago, I decided to get involved. I didn’t care for the direction the country was heading, and from talking with people whose homes I treated most of them didn't like the direction the country was heading. Instead of complaining about it and sitting on the sidelines I decided to see what I could do about it.”
Additionally, now was a good time personally and professionally for Bernskoetter, who has four adult children, the youngest of whom is Luke (age 18), a freshman in college.
“My business is in good shape, my wife works in the business with me, my middle son, Kyle (age 23), works in the business and we have great employees that have given me the time to go politicking and now will give me an opportunity to spend five months up at the Capitol,” Bernskoetter said.
While the Missouri Congress is in session, Bernskoetter will be not be involved in the day-to-day operations as Jeannette and Kyle will take on more of these responsibilities.
A LONG-TIME PCO. After graduating high school, Bernskoetter went to work at the Cole County Highway Department. Later he was transferred to the Cole County Sewer Department and worked there for a total of seven years. He was responsible for the sewage treatment facilities in the local subdivisions. The county decided to eliminate its sewer department (and privatize this service) and as a result Bernskoetter’s position was eliminated.
Bernskoetter inquired with a coworker about working for Art's Pest Control, which was owned by Art Tichelkamp, who was looking to sell the business. Bernskoetter bought the company in April 1986 and has built it into a modest-sized, but thriving business. The company employs six people and services a 30-mile radius in the Jefferson City, Mo. area.
In addition to his involvement with MPCA, Bernskoetter assisted with the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s IPM in Schools program.
Bernskoetter said he was appreciative of all the help he received from the Missouri Pest Control Association and its members, including donations from its PAC fund and funds raised from a golf outing to support his campaign.
Bernskoetter said he’s looking forward to getting started. “I think the best thing we can do to get the economy going is doing whatever is necessary to lower the burdens on families and business and help create more jobs.”