JEFFERSON CITY – If elected governor, Libertarian Andy Finkenstadt said he will put one of the values his parents taught him into practice.
It just happens to come from a card game.
HOMETOWN: St. Charles
PERSONAL: 42. He is married to Carol Finkenstadt
PARTY AFFILIATION: Libertarian
CAMPAIGN WEB SITE: andy4governor.com
OCCUPATION: Senior software engineer
EDUCATION: Attended Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio from 1983-87
BACKGROUND: Music minister at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Cottleville
"I would never compromise on active ethics, which is a term from bridge," he said. "That means not only do you follow the letter of the law unscrupulously, you follow the spirit of the law."
Finkenstadt is a different breed of politician than Democratic candidate Jay Nixon and Republican candidate Kenny Hulshof. He's never held any sort of statewide office and has to balance his full-time job programming software at Simutronics Corp. with running for statewide office.
Growing up, Finkenstadt read novels about military heroes. He said said his parents raised him to have a community-minded spirit.
"This is a way I can make a difference in society on a level more than church or work," he said.
Finkenstadt, the oldest of six children, jokingly calls himself the guinea pig of the family. He said his father, William Finkenstadt, taught him how to think for himself. His mother, Sheryl Finkenstadt, taught him how to read.
"I joke that it was very subversive of her," he said. "The wide range of books and authors I read gave me lots of ideas to choose from."
Computer programming has always captivated Finkenstadt. He read the entire electronics section of the library as a child and was writing code for a simple video game at age 8.
An active Catholic, Finkenstadt said he was an intelligent but bored student until he visited his future college, Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio.
"I saw people who lived in a way to benefit the church," he said. "It was not so much an emotional high as it was a conscious choice I made."
Finkenstadt and his wife, Carol, were married in December 2007. Although she is not Catholic and they sometimes have different political opinions, he said, they grew up with similar values, such as a love for education.
"We have similar outlooks, though we have different endpoints at times," he said.
Finkenstadt said the only luxury item they own is a flat-screen television, "which makes her video games look great."
In his free time, Finkenstadt plays bass guitar at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Cottleville, where he is a music minister, and does Sudoku puzzles before going to bed.
"It gets my mind off of work," he said.
Finkenstadt's Web site says the gubernatorial hopeful wants to reduce taxes for all Missourians, "not just the middle class or the well-to-do." Finkenstadt also opposes Proposition A and says he is unique because he is not a politician but works for a living.
Finkenstadt said that as a Libertarian candidate, he has to grapple with the Catch-22 of trying to capture the media's attention so he can make his campaign more newsworthy. He concedes he should have started fund-raising and getting his name out before the primaries.
"Libertarians need to comment on issues in ways that are not just making a stink," he said. "We need to plan ahead and say, 'I need an organization.'"
Finkenstadt didn't even tell many of his friends he was running for governor.
"They ask me if I'm the Andy Finkenstadt who's running," he said. "How many of us can there be?"