Government & Politics

Libertarian couple bonds over desire for smaller government

Cisse Spragins
Cisse Spragins Provided.

Some couples use free hours for romantic evenings or spontaneous trips.

For Cisse Spragins and Sean O’Toole, quality time is a chance to shrink the government.

Spragins and O’Toole have been married since 2000, and they’re running as Libertarians to be Missouri’s governor and treasurer, respectively.

Their love of limited government brought them together and powers their marriage. Instead of taking a vacation, Spragins said they spent their Memorial Day weekend at the Libertarian Party’s national convention.

“If we’re together on the road, odds are very good that it’s for some sort of Libertarian event,” O’Toole said.

The two met in 1999 through an online dating service while living in Minnesota. They started going steady after an hour in a coffee shop, and got married about a year later.

“I would find it very difficult to be married to someone who wasn’t a Libertarian,” O’Toole said.

Spragins agreed. “Yeah, I don’t think it would work.”

“You’d spend so much time defending your positions,” O’Toole said.

They got involved with the Minnesota Libertarian Party in 2003 and moved to Kansas City the following year. Spragins owns Rockwell Labs, a pest control product manufacturer in North Kansas City, and O’Toole is the IT director for an online training company U, Inc., in Overland Park.

With long hours in different lines of work, hours are scant. Both are passionate about their politics, so when they’re off work, they travel for campaign events, put up yard signs and discuss Libertarian literature and ideas.

The two share a dry sense of humor. When asked how campaigning affected the amount of quality time they could share, Spragins said, “We don’t spend that much time together anyway.”

Smiling, O’Toole added, “We live in a large house.”

They’ve both campaigned in Missouri multiple times on the Libertarian ticket despite of the odds: Libertarians grab only a small share of votes each year in any given race.

The party’s presidential candidate, former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, may be polling above 10 percent, but he faces a Sisyphean climb to the White House and doesn’t stand to win any electoral votes.

Spragins and O’Toole are pragmatic.

“I’m not going to be your next treasurer,” O’Toole said, but “that would be great if I was.”

Will Schmitt: @ws_missouri