The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

Parents’ political duties trickle down to children


Senior Kayla Ardini steps out of the car after a two-hour commute. Preparing herself for what lies ahead, she walks out into the bare street and sees for herself the broken windows and destroyed stores that had flashed across her TV screen. There was a stillness to the air contrary to the chaos that had erupted just hours before. Through the town’s rubble and haze she sees bright graffiti painted onto the side of a building reading “R.I.P. Michael Brown.”

She sees her father rush to meet Gov. Jay Nixon and other city officials. They talk in urgent tones of city curfew and police needs as they take in the damage.

Most people across the country saw this scene through television screens rather than real life. However, because of Ardini’s father, Ted Ardini, Counsel to the Governor, these visits have become so prevalent that they are almost routine for her family.

“[My dad working for the government] has made our ‘normal’ different from most families. I’ve experienced a lot of things that most kids and adults don’t experience in their lifetime,” Kayla Ardini said. “Through every state issue or natural disaster, I have seen both the people’s side and the government’s side.”

She visited Ferguson, MO after the riots that followed the shooting of Michael Brown, an African American, by a white police officer, Darren Wilson. In addition to this, she has also been to two presidential inaugurations, attended the State of the State address and went to Joplin three days after the tornado hit and heard President Barack Obama speak.

Kayla Ardini’s father, now a judge for the Court of Appeals, had his inauguration in August. 2016. Despite the job change, she said she has “grown up with him being in government” so the shift was unnoticeable. Although her father holds much authority in court, she said the responsibility of sharing the family name Ardini has a cost.

Art by Joanna Yu
Art by Joanna Yu

“I have to be very careful about what I do,” Kayla Ardini said. “There are a lot of eyes on my family. If I get in trouble, it affects the whole family, not just me.”

Despite the added public pressure on his children that comes with having a parent involved in government, Ted Ardini said he feels his position has been beneficial to his kids overall.

“I have been away a lot, which I feel is a negative for [my kids]. I’m not always easily accessible to them, but I try my best to be. They are my number one concern,” Ted Ardini said. “We make sacrifices just like any other families, but with my job I try to show them that it is better to be a leader rather than a follower, so in that sense I see it as a positive.”

Ted Ardini said his children grew up with his having jobs in government. He started his career in 1998 as a Chief Counsel to the Attorney General’s Office; in 2003 he was promoted to Counsel to the Attorney General; in 2009 became Counsel to the Governor and then continued on to become a judge this year.

Like Ardini’s family, Trent Skaggs, son of former Missouri representative Bill Skaggs, said his family also had to adjust to his father’s new schedule when his father became a member of the House of Representative. For the family, this meant during the January through May legislative term they had to deal with him being in Jefferson City Monday through Thursday every week.

“I was eight years old [when my dad became a representative],” Trent Skaggs said. “I remember him dropping me off at school his first day he was to leave and go to Jefferson City. I remember being excited but also sad [because] my dad was leaving.”

While Ted Ardini never had any problems with opponents making personal attacks toward his family during a campaign, Trent Skaggs said this was not the case for his father.

“My best friend from high school’s dad ran against my dad and was hateful in his campaign. It was really awkward,” Trent Skaggs said. “I don’t remember specifics of what the issues were, but I remember being upset. While people say, ‘Campaigns aren’t personal,’ they are extremely personal when you are the candidate or your family [member is].”

When Ted Ardini began his career in politics, he didn’t want his job to disrupt his family’s dynamic. While his children’s peers didn’t usually take routine visits to sites of natural disasters or important state events, he believed his children adapted to it well throughout their lifetime.

“They have grown up living this lifestyle. It’s normal to them,” Ted Ardini said. “They have always just tried their best to make the best decisions for [themselves] in every situation. They are just really good kids.”

For Kayla Ardini, her dad’s job brought about long hours at the office and important decisions. In the Ardini family’s case, the greater good overrode their own personal needs.

[quote cite=”Kayla Ardini”]My dad for most of my life was always, ‘Work first, family second.’ It didn’t matter what was going on with the family. The state always came first. Having my dad be absent has always just been something I’ve been used to.[/quote]

“My dad for most of my life was always, ‘Work first, family second.’ It didn’t matter what was going on with the family. The state always came first,” Kayla Ardini said. “Having my dad be absent has always just been something I’ve been used to.”

Despite the drawbacks of having family in government, Trent Skaggs’ view of politics went past what average citizens see on TV. He witnessed his father think over important decisions, meet with top state aides and see how he played an essential part of American democracy. For him, these memories along with his own interest at an early age made him later become a Missouri representative himself.

“[My father’s position]  absolutely made me more aware of politics. I remember meeting governors and senators, and when elections came around it was much more meaningful, even from a young age,” Trent Skaggs said. “I understood what it meant to be in the majority party and how that affects policy from a very young age.”

Unlike Trent Skaggs, Kayla Ardini has no aspirations to become a politician or work in government like her father. Even though not all of Ted Ardini’s children want to adopt as similar profession as his, he still believes his job positively affected them.

“They see a lot of unique sides of the government because I am so involved,” Ted Ardini said. “They have a deeper understanding with what really goes on behind the scenes.”

How have your parents’ jobs impacted your life? Leave a comment below. 

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    Maddie MurphyNov 8, 2016 at 11:46 pm

    My mom is a designer so I get to travel with her to conferences and showcases a few times a year. Her work consumes a lot of her life but she has always made sure that her job as a mother is more important to her than her bread and butter job.