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Columbia Missourian

State Rep. Judy Baker running to replace Hulshof

By CHRIS BLANK/The Associated Press
February 25, 2008 | 2:06 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — A third Democrat announced Monday she is joining the ranks of those seeking to replace Kenny Hulshof in Congress.

State Rep. Judy Baker, speaking at the MU School of Medicine, said she wants to ensure all Americans have access to health care. Baker, of Columbia, said she wants to run a “snap out of it” campaign that gets people focused on solving problems.

“We must not have a wishbone where a backbone ought to be,” she said.

She is an adjunct professor of managerial economics at Columbia College and helps run a health care consulting firm.

Baker, 47, called for expanding a children’s health insurance program that has twice been vetoed. That program is designed for those who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but can’t afford private insurance.

Last month, the U.S. House for the second time failed to override the president’s veto of legislation that would have expanded the program to cover an additional 4 million children. Critics have said expanding eligibility would encourage too many families to replace private insurance with government-subsidized health care.

President Bush has signed legislation that extends the existing insurance program through March 2009.

Baker also called for pulling troops from Iraq. Baker, who said she would support the Iraq war policies of either Democratic presidential candidates, said that the pace of troop withdrawals should be determined by a combination of deadlines and progress made toward stabilizing the country.

The 9th Congressional District stretches from northeastern Missouri to the western St. Louis suburbs and the Lake of the Ozarks.

Former House speaker Steve Gaw of Moberly and Marion County Presiding Commissioner Lyndon Bode have already announced they are running as Democrats. Republicans who already have entered the race are state Rep. Danie Moore of Fulton; tourism director Blaine Luetkemeyer of St. Elizabeth; and former football player Brock Olivo of Hermann.

Another possible Republican contender for the seat announced Monday that he would instead run for re-election to the state legislature. Rep. Joe Smith of St. Charles said he and his wife decided “at this moment in our lives that running for United States Congress is not in the best interest of our 2-year-old son or the state of Missouri.”

Hulshof announced last month that he would run for governor rather than re-election. That came after Gov. Matt Blunt announced that he would not seek a second term.

Baker has been raising money since last year and said she decided to run for Congress in December.