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Columbia Missourian

Boone County House and presiding commissioner candidates meet at forum

By Bailey Brewer
September 23, 2010 | 9:57 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA—Candidates for the state legislature and Boone County's presiding commissioner positions met at a Chamber of Commerce forum Thursday afternoon to present their views on key issues.

They discussed tax credits, jobs and the economy, cigarette taxes and education among other issues at the event hosted by the Chamber's Government Affairs Committee. 


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J. Scott Christianson, D-Columbia, a county presiding commissioner candidate, listed his experience as a small business owner, membership with the Chamber of Commerce, interpersonal skills and involvement in the community as reasons he feels he will succeed as county commissioner.

Christianson's opponent, Ed Robb, R-Columbia, said one of the issues motivating him to run for the position is the county budget.

“I was absolutely appalled,” he said of his first look at the 2010 budget.

Robb suggested “every piece of fluff” be removed from the building and zoning process, noting that each day construction on a job is postponed, money is lost.

Candidates for the 21st District seat in the Missouri House are Kelly Schultz, D-Shaw, and John Cauthorn, R-Mexico. The winner will replace Steve Hobbs, R-Mexico.

Schultz said she uses her experience in customer service roles as a reference point in addressing people and their concerns.

“I don’t look at this as a political thing,” Schultz said of her campaign.

Cauthorn said he thinks county residents have great ideas and that he plans to be an advocate for those ideas he supports.

“My vision is to be a facilitator for you folks,” he told the audience. 

Stephen Webber, D-Columbia, who is running for the 23rd District House seat, said he is "fiercely proud" of the Columbia community. Webber vowed to do what is right for the community, whether it means going against the opinions of those outside of or within his own political party.

“I won’t be pushed around by anybody,” he said.

Webber’s opponent, Paul Szopa, R-Columbia, said that he supported a tax on items purchased online and that he refuses to buy anything on the Internet.

“I have to agree with a Democrat,” he said of Webber’s similar stance on the issue.

Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, a contender for the 24th District seat in the House, said his experience as a senior legislative member gives him a keen eye for working with budgets such as the complicated one the county currently faces.

Laura Nauser, R-Columbia, Fifth Ward Councilwoman and Kelly’s opponent, said she hopes to build a strong economy for the county by keeping a close watch on audits of tax credits.

“I want Missouri to be the destination state” for starting businesses, she said.

Two unopposed candidates made an appearance at the forum as well. Mary Still, D-Columbia, and Paul Quinn, D-Monroe City, are the candidates for the 25th and 9th Districts, respectively.

Still emphasized the importance of working together in the House to overcome tough economic times and Quinn said he is concerned about people who have not worked with budgets in the past entering the legislature.

Elections for District House seats and the presiding commissioner position will be held Nov. 2.