The Missouri Times is speaking to new lawmakers this session. Get to know more of the “Freshmen to Watch” here.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo — Rep. Jim Kalberloh’s interest in politics was sparked as a child.
“When I was younger, the state representative was from our town as well, and I knew him so I followed him in his career for 24 years,” Kalberloh, a Republican, told The Missouri Times.
Kalberloh represents HD 125 which includes Henry and St. Clair counties as well as parts of Benton and Cedar counties. Kalberloh said HD 125 is unique in that his two partial counties have bigger towns of 3,000-4,000 people whereas the counties he represents fully are composed of small towns.
Kalberloh was born and raised in Lowry City, growing up on a farm before receiving a degree in farm management. Upon graduation from college, Kalberloh realized he would not be financially able to farm and wound up buying a restaurant in Lowry City. He has run Landmark Restaurant for 35 years.
Kalberloh served 21 years in the Missouri Army National Guard and served in Iraq in 2003 and 2004. Today, Kalberloh has a farm, raises beef cattle, and runs an agritourism business, hosting a corn maze every fall.
“It taught me leadership skills, how to work as a team, and be a player on the team,” Kalberloh said of his National Guard experience.
Kalberloh has sponsored one bill during his first session. HB 443 would allow county commissions to dip into cemetery trust funds to cover the cemetery maintenance when the net income of those trust funds is insufficient for covering maintenance costs.
“State law says if the government’s involved, as the county commission is, then you can only use the interest off of these funds to maintain your cemeteries, you can’t use any of the principal,” Kalberloh said. “Some of these cemetery funds had [about] $6,000 in them, and they’re making no interest right now — under $100 — [and] that didn’t pay to mow the cemetery one time.”
This year, Kalberloh’s main focus has been listening and learning the ropes of the legislature.
“I feel like as the freshman class we are working together and figuring out the process and how it works,” he said.
Kalberloh would like his constituents and fellow lawmakers to know that he is honest and hardworking.
“Doing the right thing, whether that’s popular or not is not the question, but to do the right thing for the most constituents in my district and in the state,” Kalberloh said.
Kalberloh serves on the Consent and Procedures, Rural Community Development, and Veterans committees.
Kalberloh enjoys gardening of all sorts and anything that has to do with farming and agriculture. He and his middle daughter have a small vineyard where the pair grow an acre of grapes. Kalberloh has three daughters and five grandchildren with another grandchild due in August.
“They inspire me to leave Missouri in a better place, for them to enjoy [it] as I have,” Kalberloh said.
Elise Eaker studies journalism at Lincoln University. Prior to Lincoln, Elise graduated from Fulton High School. She is a native of Fulton.