COLUMBIA – Senatorial candidate and Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan stood between the members of the Missouri Farmers Union and their Shakespeare's Pizza lunch, she joked.
Carnahan, a Democratic candidate who still runs her family's cattle farm outside of Rolla, told the Farmers Union in Middlebush Hall on the MU campus Saturday that if she is elected to the Senate, she would help:
- ensure access to broadband internet in rural America,
- eliminate the United States' dependence on foreign oil and
- improve education.
"Our problems are man-made," Carnahan said, evoking the words of John F. Kennedy. "And that means they can be fixed by man."
Carnahan said she wants to be a "problem solver" in Washington.
Keith Mudd, a member of the Farmers Union, didn't agree with Carnahan that high-speed Internet access is an issue. With Internet available through satellite and new agreements between energy cooperatives and internet providers to use transmission lines, Mudd didn't think it was a very pressing need.
Mudd did agree, however, that the U.S. needs to move away from foreign oil.
"I'd like the country to stop using fossil fuels for energy production," Mudd said.
Carnahan's appearance came after Farmers Union members discussed what they called unethical business practices. In particular, members voiced concerns about agricultural company Monsanto's nearly entire share of the seed trait market. Seed traits are biologically-engineered seeds with particular characteristics such as immunity from pesticide and herbicides.
Mudd, a director and former president of the Organization for Competitive Markets, said that the large market share allows Monsanto to change their prices without providing additional services or a better product. He believes that Monsanto actively works to eliminate its competition.
Carnahan is running against Republican candidates Roy Blunt and Chuck Purgason and progressive candidate Midge Potts. The primary is Aug. 3.