About Craig

As a professional, Craig spent his career working with a diverse array of people on complex, emotionally-charged issues, and leading the effort to achieve mutually acceptable solutions to problems. This is a skill set we need in the U.S. Senate.

Craig grew up on a small family farm in northeast Missouri.

His mother was an English teacher, and his father raised pure-bred Duroc hogs and Shorthorn cattle. Craig spent days in the field on the tractor, put up hay with his high school buddies, carried feed and water to the hogs in five gallon buckets, and cleaned out hog houses for a dollar a house. His parents taught him the value of hard work and a good education.

An ability to work with a diverse array of people on complex, emotionally charged issues, and move toward and achieve mutually acceptable solutions to problems is a skill set Craig believes we need in the Senate.

 

Much of Craig’s approach to life and leadership was formed on the basketball court and the football field. His career in sports started with fifth grade YMCA basketball, followed by football, basketball, and track in high school, and ended with football and track in college. This experience taught Craig the value of discipline and teamwork; how to lead, and how to follow. Craig always told his beloved Coach Woz that the three years playing quarterback in high school was the best leadership training he ever received. He learned sportsmanship; how to win with class and lose with dignity, having experienced an undefeated season, and a season with no wins until the final game.

Craig graduated with an engineering degree from the Missouri University of Science & Technology, and with a law degree from Vanderbilt University. The combination of the education in math and science, coupled with the analytical education in law, has formed the basis of Craig’s approach to problem solving throughout his professional career.

As a lawyer, Craig helps people and companies resolve business disputes. These disputes typically involve multiple parties, complex issues, and large sums of money. On occasion, the only way to resolve the dispute is through trial, and Craig has a strong track record of success in court. More often, disputes are resolved through a process of communication and negotiation. Craig has received many awards and recognitions for his accomplishments in this arena.

An ability to work with a diverse array of people on complex, emotionally charged issues, and move toward and achieve mutually acceptable solutions to problems is a skill set Craig believes we need in the Senate.

Craig and Stephanie fell in love on their first date just over 25 years ago.

They were married a couple of years later, and their daughter, Sydney, was born three years to the day after that first date. Stephanie and Craig have three children. Stephanie is a marketing executive in the financial services industry. She graduated with an MBA from MIT in 2017. Sydney, 22, is a student at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She recently took a gap year away from college, worked at Starbucks, saved her money, and then embarked on a three month solo trip around Europe and Great Britain. Cullen, 19, is a Midshipman at the United States Naval Academy. He is an oarsman on the Navy crew team. And Cormac, 16, is a sophomore at Rockhurst High School and plays lacrosse.

Their family, friends, and loved ones know the O'Dear family struggled through some very difficult years. Those challenges resulted in Craig and Stephanie being divorced in November 2012. However, through a combination of redemption, forgiveness, and unconditional love, Stephanie and Craig are together again, and they and their family are richly blessed as a result of that reconciliation. The family has learned first hand that unconditional love and the power of forgiveness and redemption are among the most powerful manifestations of God's grace.

Craig O'Dear for U.S. Senate