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Primary primer: Lieutenant governor candidates offer stances on issues

Tuesday, July 15, 2008 | 4:03 p.m. CDT; updated 4:41 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Peter Kinder

Cape Girardeau

WHAT’S THE JOB?

The lieutenant governor is the ex-officio president of the Senate. When there is a tie in the Senate, the lieutenant governor can vote to break that tie. He or she becomes acting governor if the governor for any reason is unable to perform his duties. The lieutenant governor is elected separately from the governor and serves a four-year term. The salary is $83,965.

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PERSONAL: Age 54

PARTY: Republican

CAMPAIGN WEB SITE: www.teamkinder.com

OCCUPATION: Lieutenant governor

EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree in political science, 1977, Southeast Missouri University; juris doctorate, St. Mary’s School of Law, 1979.

BACKGROUND: Missouri state senator from 1992 to 2004 and a member of the Missouri Farm Bureau, the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce and the Lions Club.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE

As of July 15

Total Money Received: $1.6 million

Total Money Spent: $1.0 million

Cash on Hand: $573,492

ISSUES

ECONOMY: Says the economy is soft and approaching a point of no growth. Also says immediate action must be taken to achieve a tax cut for all Missourians. The tax cut would take the form of lower energy prices; there should be an increase in the amount of domestic energy produced. A nuclear energy plant should be located in Missouri and wind power harnessed to meet our needs.

TAXES: Says taxes should be kept low to help foster the economy. Also sees a need to reign in government spending, keeping government as small as possible and cutting unnecessary costs. Does not support demands for trade protectionism.

SENIOR CITIZENS: By statute, the lieutenant governor is the chief advocate for senior citizens, and Kinder says it is a duty that should be taken seriously. He supports raising money for Senior Meals, a program that delivers meals to seniors in their homes and in nutrition centers. Says it is a vital program because it not only combats isolation for seniors who eat in the nutrition centers but also keeps those unable to leave their homes independent for as long as possible.

EDUCATION: Supports budget increases for K-12 and higher education. Although Kinder is a proponent of the public school system, he also supports charter schools and the role they can play in districts that are not accredited. Charter schools, he says, can give inner-city minority parents hope that their children can have a successful education, if a one-size fits all school system is not working for them.

ROLE OF THE OFFICE: Says the lieutenant governor has many responsibilities, and that chief among them is to advocate for seniors. Says the office also should work to meet the needs of veterans, as well as preside over the Senate.

CLIMATE OF THE SENATE: Says it is pretty much business as usual when it comes to the higher chamber. It is being well-run by the president pro-tem and is passing laws that benefit the people of the state.

AMACHI PROGRAM: Given the chance, Kinder says he would bring more of a focus to the Amachi program that mentors children of those in the state prison systems. The program strives to ensure that children of inmates do not end up in prison themselves. It has been endorsed by lieutenant governors across the nation and is looked at as a national standard.


Paul Douglas Sims

Lecoma

PERSONAL: Age 48; married to Lois Sims; has two daughters, ages 22 and 16.

PARTY: Republican

CAMPAIGN WEB SITE: www.pauldsims.com

OCCUPATION: Cattle farmer, former firefighter

EDUCATION: Graduated from Salem Senior High School in 1977

BACKGROUND: Member of Sons of the American Revolution, the American British White Park Cattle Association and the Missouri Farm Bureau; honorary member of FFA and 4H Club.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE

As of July 15

Total Money Raised: $1,000

Total Money Spent: $225

Cash on Hand: $775

ISSUES

ECONOMY: Says the economy needs some work and thinks high fuel prices are driving it downward and must be addressed. Missouri producers and consumers should be brought closer together. This not only would help farmers looking to sell their crops but also would also drive down the cost of food, which would benefit shoppers.

TAXES: Supports low taxes and says the current tax system is not working. Sees a need to ensure that money is going to the best possible places so that people feel less of a strain in their pocketbooks. Sees a consumption tax or a tax based on labor or goods taken out of the economy, rather than income, as a possible solution.

SENIOR CITIZENS: Says the needs of senior citizens should be taken care of properly. They should have access to affordable medication and have places to live that are safe and in habitable condition. Says quality of life for senior citizens should always be a concern of the lieutenant governor because he or she is their chief advocate in government.

EDUCATION: Supports pay raises for teachers, saying that they should be motivated and that one way to do that is to pay them properly so that they will spur children to want to learn. Says children deserve the best education that they can get but the government should also keep in mind those who choose to teach their children themselves.

ROLE OF THE OFFICE: The lieutenant governor should ensure there is no waste or abuse of the political system and make sure money is used properly. He or she also should make an effort to get out to the people and find out what their needs are. Public concerns then need to be brought back to Jefferson City so they can be addressed.

CLIMATE OF THE SENATE: The Senate is trying to get the job done and pass legislation that will help ordinary folks, but it is evident it needs someone to guide and direct senators back toward their goals.

CONSUMERS AND PRODUCERS: Would bring the relationship of consumer and producers to the forefront. Hopes to bring producers and consumers closer together to bring more jobs back to the state that have been transferred around the nation and around the globe. Says it’s a partnership that, if strengthened, would prove beneficial to many throughout the state.


Arthur Hodge Sr.

Springfield

PERSONAL: Age 62; single. He has one grown son.

PARTY: Republican

CAMPAIGN WEB SITE: None

OCCUPATION: Retired

EDUCATION: Graduated from O’Bannon High School in 1964. Attended two years of college. Graduated from the police academy at Drury College 1997.

BACKGROUND: Served in the U.S. Army from 1966 to 1987; worked as an attendance adviser for a Springfield school district for 12 years.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE

Filed an exemption of limited activity on July 1.

ECONOMY: Says fuel prices are rising and taking a toll on several segments of the population. Says the government must take the necessary steps to alleviate the burden on people. That said, every city and region in the state is not the same, and each has different economic needs. Although the priorities might be different, the state should do its best to ensure that critical priorities are met.

TAXES: Says the current tax system is being misused. No one in the Capitol is being held accountable for where the money is going, and that must be changed. Tax money needs to be used to meet the needs of the public and not misspent on bills that will only benefit a select few, while hurting others who might not have a voice.

SENIOR CITIZENS: Concerned about the financial security of senior citizens. People who have given and sacrificed so much for the country are bring taken advantage of by members of the lending industry. Supports regulations for the amount of interest that “payday” loan establishments can charge because of the toll they take on those who are suffering financially. Wants to protect senior citizens from being “scammed.”

EDUCATION: Says there are two standards of education in the state and country: one for the rich and for the poor. Says public education is failing black children and poor white children because it is devoid of leadership opportunities. This needs to be remedied so that they will grow into responsible and disciplined adults.

ROLE OF THE OFFICE: Says the lieutenant governor should help support the government. It is also important that he or she work with Congress to create a change in the current system so that everyone can reap the benefits. Says that ordinary people should also be heard and that the office should be responsible for hearing those voices and bringing the concerns back to government where they can be eased.

CLIMATE OF THE SENATE: Says people in the Senate have been elected to do the will of the people but lately have been spinning their wheels. Many people unfamiliar with the political process and ways of getting things done cannot get a feel for what is going on in the Capitol.

EDUCATION: Education would be Hodge’s primary focus. Says he would clean out the Missouri Department of Education and hold new people to higher standards. Most important, he says, the department would be smaller in scale so that the people in charge could be held accountable. Changes made higher up in the department would eventually find their way into the classrooms.


Sam Page

Van Buren

PERSONAL: Age 43; married to Jennifer Page. They have three children, ages 10, 7 and 5.

PARTY: Democrat

CAMPAIGN WEB SITE: www.sampage.com

OCCUPATION: 82nd District state representative, medical doctor

EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, 1988; medical degree, University of Missouri-Kansas City, 1992; attended graduate studies in anesthesiology and pain management at Northwestern University and Washington University School of Medicine.

BACKGROUND: Commissioner of Senior Rx Program; former member of the Creve Coeur City Council; member of St. Louis Rotary International, the Missouri Chamber of Commerce the Missouri State Medical Association, the St. Louis Metropolitan Medical Society and the Missouri Society of Anesthesiologists; board member of the Missouri Consolidated Health Plan.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE

As of July 15

Total Money Raised: $1.1 million

Total Money Spent: $532,361

Cash on Hand: $560,441

ISSUES

ECONOMY: Says it is important to protect Missouri jobs by requiring companies that take incentives and money from the government and then move jobs overseas to repay the money they’ve taken. Says there needs to be a concerted effort to reward companies who keep jobs in the state and invest in businesses.

TAXES: Does not support tax increases. Says there has been a rise in “backdoor” taxes because college has become less affordable in recent years. The government no longer prioritizes higher education, and the middle class has been left with a higher burden of tax costs. Says college needs to be both more affordable and tax deductible for middle-class families.

SENIOR CITIZENS: Supports penalizing owners of facilities that mistreat their residents. Also supports stricter building codes. Says the No. 1 issue for senior citizens is access to affordable health care. In recent years, the government has lost access to federal money because it no longer sees health care as a priority and, because of this 100,000 seniors around the state lack affordable health care. Says that because the lieutenant governor is the state’s primary advocate of seniors, it is his or her responsibly increase accessibility to health care.

EDUCATION: Says all children should be able to go as far as their minds will take them. Sees the state slowly moving in a direction that makes access to affordable education more difficult. Says that needs to change. Children who want to go to college should be able to afford it. Says the A+ Program should be expanded so that community college is more readily available to all qualified students.

ROLE OF THE OFFICE: Says the No. 1 priority for the lieutenant governor is to be an advocate for seniors. This means ensuring they have the means and resources to access to affordable health care that consistently meets quality standards. The medical community should be aware of the standards, and senior citizens need to believe that they are receiving high-quality health care.

CLIMATE OF THE SENATE: Expects Democrats to pick up two seats, which would make the Senate more evenly split along party lines. Says the lieutenant governor will play an important role in the quality of legislation passed.

AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE: Would advocate the need for affordable health care for every person in Missouri, from children and working families to senior citizens. A priority of the state government is to give people the opportunities to help themselves, as well as help others. Policy should be passed so that people can attain jobs with good benefits and have access good education.


Michael E. Carter

Hazelwood

PERSONAL: Age 36; engaged to Holly Lewis. He has one step-daughter, 11, and one son, 4.

PARTY: Democrat

CAMPAIGN WEB SITE: www.vote4carter.com

OCCUPATION: Senior lecturer at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, attorney focusing on real estate and business law.

EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree in philosophy and political science, University of Missouri-St. Louis, 2000; master’s degree in journalism and juris doctorate, MU, 2004.

BACKGROUND: Worked for attorney general’s office where he did legal work and research, and coordinated public outreach efforts, chair of Arbitration for the St. Louis Board of Realtors, Realtor for 17 years, former UPS driver.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE

Statement of committee organization filed July 8.

ISSUES

ECONOMY: Says the economy is the No. 1 issue on everyone’s mind. There has been a decline in sales ownership around the state and country. Stabilizing the housing market should be one of the state’s priorities because it would be the first in several steps in changing the state of the economy. People will feel more secure. Confidence in the housing market will trickle down to other areas of the economy.

TAXES: Supports fiscal responsibility in government. Both state and federal governments are notoriously inefficient because they are not driven by normal, effective, responsible ways of distributing money. Bringing more of a business mind-set to the table will help monitor and curb spending.

SENIOR CITIZENS: Baby Boomers are not senior citizens in the traditional sense. They have their own view of themselves and different needs than past generations. Baby Boomers are aware what they have put into the country through taxes. The lieutenant governor has to go about addressing those needs, such as quality health care and access to medication, to the best of his or her ability.

EDUCATION: Supports pay raises for K-12 teachers, saying they are underpaid and overworked. Says people who play such a large role in children’s lives should be compensated fairly for their time.

ROLE OF THE OFFICE: Notes that the office is one of the only government positions that combines both the legislative and executive branches. Supports a Missouri law that would allow the lieutenant governor to serve as an executive check. Says besides advocating for seniors, the office does not have a large impact on the daily lives of Missourians.

CLIMATE OF THE SENATE: Says the Senate’s track record could be improved. Although it has passed some good bills, it needs to do more work to benefit the people of Missouri. As of now, he says, the Senate is an unfriendly place for good legislation.

HOME OWNERSHIP: Home ownership is important because of the role it plays in the economy. His priority would be to increase the rate of home ownership across the state. This would include all types of families with all levels of income.


Richard Charles Tolbert

Kansas City

PERSONAL: Age 63; single

PARTY: Democrat

CAMPAIGN WEB SITE: None

OCCUPATION: Businessman, runs a diversified mini-conglomerate that reinstalls pay phones, runs small retail stores, and develops locations and new businesses

EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree in sociology, Yale, 1966; masters in sociology, Yale, 1969.

BACKGROUND: Served as city councilman Kansas City, 1971-1974; elected trustee of Metropolitan Community College District in Kansas City elected in 2004

CAMPAIGN FINANCE

Filed a statement of exemption on May 16.

ISSUES

ECONOMY: Sees the economy as self-guided. Says although government regulation is necessary, the economy should sustain itself as much as possible. Fuel prices are an issue that needs to be addressed. The best way to combat the rising cost of fuel is to combine the efforts of the government with those of the private sector.

TAXES: Opposes unnecessary tax increases. Says although taxes are often needed to fund programs, they are often raised without need. Says the government should be mindful of the way it spends taxpayer’s money and that lawmakers should view raising taxes as a last resort.

SENIOR CITIZENS: Information on Social Security and other news relevant to senior citizens and those nearing that age should be made available so it can be easily found. People should be able to know what their options are. Lawmakers should work to ensure that health care and medication are both accessible and affordable.

EDUCATION: Supports government financing of post-high school education. Says a person should be able to go as far as they want in their drive for education and should not be discouraged by cost. Government money should only be spent on loans, not grants or scholarships. The loans would be paid back after graduation. Community colleges should play a bigger role in higher education, serving the needs of all students, not just those coming directly from high school.

ROLE OF THE OFFICE: Says the lieutenant governor should serve as an ombudsman for the average citizen. In current government, there is a need for someone to be the eyes and ears of the people. The public should be heard, and ways should be found to ensure that needs are met and concerns are eased, even when they cannot pay for a lobbyist.

CLIMATE OF THE SENATE: The Missouri Senate is a pretty partisan place, he says. Says the lieutenant governor should be as nonpartisan as possible and put an end to partisan ways.

UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE: One of his priorities would be universal health care. Says it might not be an easy process to establish, but it is an issue across the nation and state that needs to be addressed. There should be a program similar to Medicare in which everyone pays or puts in a small percentage of their income and is covered.


Becky Plattner

Grand Pass

PERSONAL: Age 50; married to Russell Plattner. They have two grown daughters.

PARTY: Democrat

CAMPAIGN WEB SITE: www.beckyplattner.com

OCCUPATION: Saline Country presiding commissioner, financial manager of family business.

EDUCATION: Graduated from Santa Fe R-10 High School in 1976. Attended Missouri Valley College for two years and now is attending Central Missouri State University.

BACKGROUND: Served on the Grand Pass City Council for 15 years, former Saline County budget officer, member of the Missouri Conservation Commission, Grand Pass city clerk, board member of Solid Waste Management Region F, the Natural Resource Conservation Service and Prairie Rose Resource Conservation and Development; alternate to the University of Missouri Extension Council, member of the Workforce Development Board, past officer of the Missouri Young Farmers Wives Association.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE

Filed statement of organization on May 2.

ISSUES

ECONOMY: Says the economy is holding its own right now and that rising food and gas prices are nothing new. Says the important thing is that the economy is holding steady and not start moving backward. However, there are thousands of larger and smaller business that are vitally important to the economy and need to be monitored to make sure their needs are being met.

TAXES: Says as much as they can be troublesome, taxes are our way of taking care of our infrastructure. If there were no taxes there would be no highways, no county roads and a lack of conservation. There is not really an alternative available. While taxes may be high, they are important to sustain the state.

SENIOR CITIZENS: Wants to ensure senior citizens have access to health care, safety in the public arena and care centers, and programs to add to quality of life in later years. Says that taking care of people who have taken care of us is important, whether they are veterans or senior citizens.

EDUCATION: Says education is a choice. If someone doesn’t want to go to college, that doesn’t mean that they are not as capable of working hard and making a good living. However, if someone chooses to go on and wants expand their education, it should be their right, and nothing should stand in their way.

ROLE OF THE OFFICE: Says the lieutenant governor should act as a representative of the people. He or she should also have a close partnership and good working relationship with the governor to represent the interests of the state. But because it is a position elected by the people, the lieutenant governor should be concentrated on the people’s interests.

CLIMATE OF THE SENATE: No comment.

REPRESENTATION: Says the way government is set up, state representatives and senators listen and govern the interests of residents in their prospective areas. If they are unable to resolve the needs of their people, the lieutenant governor should step in and help resolve issues. The lieutenant governor is being paid to protect the people who put him or her in office.


Mary Williams

Jefferson City

PERSONAL:Age 51; married with two children.

PARTY: Democrat

CAMPAIGN WEB SITE: None

OCCUPATION: Registered nurse

EDUCATION: Associate of science degree in nursing, Lincoln Universty, 1979.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE

Statement of exemption filed March 27.

Repeated attempts by the Missourian to reach Williams were unsuccessful.


C. Lillian Metzger

South St. Louis

PERSONAL: Age 84; married to John Metzger; has two grown children.

PARTY: Democrat

CAMPAIGN WEB SITE: None

OCCUPATION: Retired paralegal

EDUCATION: Graduate of Roosevelt High School in 1942

BACKGROUND: Served as board secretary for St. Louis police chiefs from 1943 to 1953; volunteer with the Girl Scouts of America and the Tri Area Council on Aging Senior Center in Troy; worked as a paralegal in a eastern district U.S. Attorney’s office 1978 to 88 where she supervised the debt collection unit; chairwoman of Northeast Missouri Silver-haired Legislature Delegation

CAMPAIGN FINANCE

As of July 15

Total Money Received: $2,925

Total Money Spent: $0

Cash on Hand: $125

ISSUES

ECONOMY: Says the biggest issue facing the economy is a disappearing middle class. The only way the state and country can do well is by having middle-class people who are able to work and support themselves and their families. A nation and state without stable and healthy middle class is at a detriment.

TAXES: Supports taxes but feels they shouldn’t be more than a percentage of a person’s wage. There are more programs that need funding, and the money has to come from some place. But says some taxes have gone too far. Both sides of the aisle need input to come up with a plan that they are both happy with.

SENIOR CITIZENS: Says there needs to be more of a push for programs that help the elderly stay in their homes as long as possible. Says transportation is also an issue for the senior citizens who can no longer drive. They have to be able to go grocery shopping, get their medication and go to doctors’ offices, and that is often harder to do without access to a vehicle.

EDUCATION: Says education should be available to everybody applies themselves. The more educated a population is, the better it is able to take care of situations and issues of the time. Each person should get the best education they can.

ROLE OF THE OFFICE: Says the office of lieutenant governor should be used to advocate for seniors and children of the state, who do not always have a clear voice to present their concerns and needs.

CLIMATE OF THE SENATE: Says there is little being done in regard to bills that will help the people of the state. If legislation is good and will help people, there should be no problem with it being supported by both sides of the aisle. It has to be something that everyone can live with, but party lines should not stand in the way of good bills.

PAYDAY LOANS: Payday loans are taking advantage of people in dire need of money. Many people don’t realize the amount of interest that is being charged to them until it is too late, and there currently is no way to regulate the amount of interest that can be charged by payday loan establishments.


Teddy Fleck

Springfield

PERSONAL: Age 46; married to Bonnie Fleck; they have three grown children.

PARTY: Libertarian

CAMPAIGN WEB SITE: www.teddyfleck.com

OCCUPATION: Truck driver

EDUCATION: General equivalency diploma through the U.S. Army, 1980.

BACKGROUND: Member of the National Rifle Association, the American Legion and The Elks Lodge.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE

Statement of limited activity filed July 4.

ISSUES

ECONOMY:Says Missouri is becoming a state that is friendly to businesses large and small. Taxes need to be lowered to keep manufacturing jobs within the state. They employ large numbers of people throughout the state and their loss would take a toll on thousands of people across Missouri.

TAXES: Supports lower taxes and smaller government. Says the government should curtail spending and keep money in the hands of people in the state. Budget cuts should also be considered in order to cut unnecessary spending.

SENIOR CITIZENS: Programs such as Medicare and Medicaid are in place to help seniors get access to quality health care that is affordable. But spending around the state should be focused on ensuring that seniors are taken care of and their needs met.

EDUCATION: Supports parents choosing which school their children will attend. Says there also should be more tax cuts available to parents that would help make them better able to afford to send their children to private schools.

ROLE OF THE OFFICE: Besides sitting on many boards and commissions and filling in for the governor when he is away, the lieutenant governor should work with the Missouri Senate and House to ensure that government runs smoothly and that the people’s needs are being represented.

CLIMATE OF THE SENATE: In past years, not enough has been accomplished in the Senate, but the body is doing pretty well as a whole, especially for the past legislative term. The state House has more problems than the Senate does.

STAND-ALONE BILLS: Would make the idea of stand-alone bills a priority. Each bill would be voted on separately with no amendments being tacked on. There is too much time being wasted on amendments that have nothing to do with the bills to which they are attached. Prohibiting that practice would allow for a bill to be seen for what it is without being bogged down.


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