JCGA Statewide Candidate Forum Recap

7 Oct

Here, at long last, is my recap. I know you have been waiting.

Following up on their local candidate forum, the Jefferson County Growth Association held a forum for candidates for statewide offices (legislature, state offices, Congress) on October 2. Video of the event can be found here. Attendance among candidates was spottier for this event; for many offices, only one candidate appeared (no GOP Congressional candidates, two of whom are incumbents, showed up).

The event was moderated again by a man I believe to be Chris Hagen from the JCGA. He executed his moderator duties similarly to last time. I will omit his remarks from this recap. Once again, I will provide the times in the video at which each candidate appears, so you can skip to specific candidates if you would like.

State Representative District 115

1:40 – Elaine Gannon, GOP: she gave a more general talk, focusing mostly on her local, conservative upbringing and basic beliefs. She wants to continue her public service, and she emphasized jobs, creating a business-friendly climate, and letting the free market work. She mentioned hiring good teachers, low class sizes, at-risk kids, vocational schools, and farms/ranches.

7:40 – Rich McCane, Dem: He offered a mixture of Democratic and Republican stances on issues: pro-life, raise minimum wage, concealed carry, no right-to-work. His talk was more policy-focused than his opponent’s. He talked about the foundation formula for education, as several subsequent speakers did, and he spoke of re-evaluating tax credits for development. He was the first of several candidates to pledge to work with Governor Nixon, in an apparent attempt his horse to the local boy in the Governor’s Mansion. McCane emphasized his experience on the De Soto city council.

State Rep Dist 114

14:40 – T.J. McKenna, Dem: He is a young pup, having graduated from college in 2007. As one might expect, he invoked his family’s record of public service (his cousin, Ryan McKenna, is a  state senator, and his uncle Bill McKenna was a state senator as well). He mentioned that he recently joined the Elks Club (which reminds me a bit of our old pal Charles Huey, who as part of his quest for elected office has joined nearly every fraternal organization in the county). T.J. works in the county assessor’s office, which I noted recently looks like a bit of a political operation. In his remarks, he emphasized economic development, infrastructure, education, and protecting the vulnerable and less fortunate. He said he is a proud Democrat, which is a risky statement to make in today’s Jefferson County, although Democratic Rep. Ron Casey won this general area in 2010. He wants to bring home the bacon by getting state money for county roads, water, and sewers, and most boldly, wants to expand I-55 to six lanes all the way south to Highway 67 (that would require upgrading about 7 miles of I-55).

20:20 – Becky Ruth, GOP: Like Gannon, she focused on her upbringing and her basic beliefs. She stressed her education background, focused on the foundation formula, local school control (vs. teaching to the test), and letting teachers teach. She wants to get the port done.

State Rep Dist 113

25:25 – Jeff Roorda, Dem: He used the smoothest, most polished political stump speech of the event to state that he’s not a politician, but a public servant, highlighting his work as a police officer and fireman, and also his bipartisan achievements as a former House member. He also pulled out the sharpest attack seen in either of the two candidate forums by stating, “the choice in this race is clear: a public servant with a history of fighting crime, running against a politician fighting his criminal history” (direct video link here). I’m not sure what his refers to.

28:50 – Dan Smith, GOP: He stated that he wants to encourage job creation and reduce regulations and waste/fraud. He wants to get citizens involved and keep them in the loop, and he pledged to “actually vote on bills important to citizens.” This sounds  like a (very) veiled reference to Roorda’s record; did he miss a lot of votes? I was interested to see how he would respond to Roorda’s  attack, but he made no mention of it.

State Rep Dist 112

35:45 – Dan James, Dem: He is running because “we can’t always have things the way we want, but we try to work for what’s best for everybody.” He was the first JeffCo municipal prosecutor [note: he was fired when Ken Waller became county executive, and in response he filed a lawsuit that was dismissed]. He pledged to fight gridlock, fund education, fight school vouchers, and strengthen teacher tenure. He criticized his opponent, Paul Wieland, for voting to overturn the puppy mill amendment that voters passed in 2010 (this passed by 13,000 votes in JeffCo). I was surprised that he made only a short, passing inference to the fact that Wieland doesn’t live in the district (because of redistricting).

Paul Wieland, GOP (incumbent): absent

State Rep Dist 111

42:10 – Michael Frame, Dem: His family has been here 100 years, and he was the 2nd candidate to mention having a family name on a local American Legion hall (Becky Ruth was the first); won 1986 Military Leader of the Year (I’m trying to independently verify this); he was a pipefitter – he felt the economic decline. He talked a lot about outsourcing, proposing that state contracts need US and MO preference clauses, that we should eliminate sales taxes on Missouri-built cars, and that there should be no federal tax breaks for outsourcing (recall in the presidential debate that Romney new of no such tax breaks). He pledged to work with Nixon, and said that, unlike his opponent, he isn’t a lawyer.

47:35 – Derrick Good, GOP: “I am asking you to send another lawyer to the legislature;” by his count there are six lawyers in the House. He said it is important to have legal knowledge in the legislature. He cited a failed gun store he started, and also his management of the High Ridge license office as proof he understands business (those license offices usually seem to be sketchy insider deals, though). He wants to reduce the size of government, improve infrastructure, and get the port done.

State Rep Dist 97 (note, this is a rematch from 2010; McCaherty won in a close race against the incumbent Komo)

54:50 – John McCaherty, GOP (incumbent): We need to focus on jobs and work both with labor and business. He cited his endorsements from both sides (I mentioned the AFL-CIO endorsement in this race here).

58:35 – Sam Komo, Dem: Komo decided to dress down for the evening, in his polo shirt (most were in suits). He skipped a lot of the biographical stuff most candidates started with, and went straight into his bipartisan House record, mentioning specifically the 2010 Manufacturing Jobs Act, which provided incentives for auto manufacturers to build cars here. He tied McCaherty to the Tea Party, and said he passed no economic development or job creation bills in the past session.

State Senate Dist 3

1:03:20 – Joe Fallert, Jr., Dem: Fallert said he’s not Kevin Engler, so he won’ t take credit for whether it’s raining or not. He said he’s pro-life and pro-guns. He claimed that big GOP majorities in both houses cause gridlock between houses, rather than between parties. He wants an ABC approach: accountability, balance, and common sense.

1:08:40 – Gary Romine, GOP: Another down-dresser, appearing in a golf shirt. If you care about education, he’s a teacher; if you care about labor, he has a bunch of union members in his family. He’s also a businessman and was a State Senate staffer.

Attorney General

1:13:50 – Ed Martin, GOP: He said that the incumbent, his opponent, is not fighting against government overreach, citing in particular his refusal to join lawsuits against Obamacare. He also said the AG should be the legal leader of the state in fighting crime. Martin cited his own combination of public service and legal experience.

Chris Koster, Dem (incumbent): absent

Secretary of State

1:21:40 – Jason Kander, Dem: Touched on campaign reform, ethics reform; human trafficking; the budget. He said his opponent tried to get rid of absentee voting by mail, which would have affected soldiers (Kander served in the Army Reserve).

Shane Schoeller, GOP: absent

Lt. Governor

1:26:05 – Cynthia Davis, Constitution Party: I thought Davis was excellent (direct video link here). She is effusive and excited in her delivery. She said “some of her very best friends are from Jefferson County.” She noted the county’s political shift, and stated that both parties have failed us. She mentioned how she got involved in politics as a business owner fighting against bad local government decisions. She said he made her mark by “filing the healthcare freedom bill, the firearms freedom bill, and the light bulb freedom bill.” She has the exclusive Missouri Right-to-Life endorsement in the race. At Lt. Governor, she will let the sun shine in. She will be “the designated driver in the room full of drunks.”

Peter Kinder, GOP (incumbent), and Susan Montee, Dem: absent


1:34:35 – Dave Spence, GOP: He cited some bad stats: Missouri is last in job growth; 1 in 6 residents are on food stamps, 50,000 kids are in unaccredited schools, 3 years of 0% growth (lower growth than Illinois); only #1 in meth. He said it is time for leadership. He mentioned that Gov. Nixon from De Soto, but not at forum, and that he has no house and has spent 26 years living off the taxpayers.

Jay Nixon, Dem (incumbent): absent

US House District 3

1:42:45 – Eric Mayer, Dem: His priorities: job creation, tax reform, stabilizeing Medicare/Social Security. He has a small business background. He wants to use Simpson-Bowles to fix budget, reform healthcare (but likes Obamacare). He says there is a clear choice: his opponent voted 85% party line in Congress.

Blaine Luetkemeyer, GOP (incumbent): absent

US House District 2

1:47:00 – Glenn Koenen, Dem: We (Democrats) did not draw these lines (referring to the redistricting that divided Jefferson County between 3 Congressional districts). He focused on the loss of manufacturing and blue-collar jobs. He mentioned that Charter is leaving, and that transportation and talent were given as reasons, so we need to offer job training. Health issues often lead to bankruptcy, he said, and Obamacare will get these people care.

Ann Wagner, GOP: absent

US House District 8

1:55:35 – Jack Rushin, Dem: His opponent and VP candidate Paul Ryan voted for Bush budgets. The wars were not payed for by tax appropriations but borrowing. These people (GOP) talk fiscal responsibility, but their spending led to the economic crash. He blamed the Grover Norquist no-tax-hike pledge, and said we need to reform the tax code and increase revenue. He admitted we need to cut spending, but “if you cut to the artery you kill the patient.” Stated that Reagan raised taxes (which is “willful obfuscation“), and that only two presidents haven’t raised taxes, one of which was Bush 43. He said we need more cooperation and less obstruction.

JoAnn Emerson, GOP (incumbent): absent


One Response to “JCGA Statewide Candidate Forum Recap”


  1. Dirty Deeds in the 113th « Jefferson County Penknife - October 27, 2012

    […] has a record and is trying to hide it, is identical to that Roorda made in his appearance at the JCGA Candidate forum. See […]


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