COLUMBIA — With ballot in hand on Election Day, voters will have the opportunity to choose who will represent them in the 9th Congressional District. One of those candidates will require write-in votes.
The candidates are Republican incumbent Blaine Luetkemeyer, Libertarian Christopher Dwyer and write-in Democrat Jeff Reed.
Blaine Luetkemeyer, 58, of St. Elizabeth has served the 9th Congressional District since 2009.
Luetkemeyer, who did not return phone calls seeking an interview, supports limited health-care reform.
"We can all agree that health care costs in America are out of control, and coverage and care must be made more affordable," according to his website. "I support real health care reform such as passing significant lawsuit reform ..."
Luetkemeyer also believes in reducing taxes by passing a constitutional amendment that would make the federal government balance its budget. Creating jobs is important to him, and he has helped pass bipartisan legislation on this issue.
Regarding energy issues, Luetkemeyer opposes cap-and-trade legislation. It would cost the 9th District about $1,700 per year, according to his website. He supports a policy that would end America's dependence on foreign oil.
Christopher Dwyer, 43, of Hallsville, favors states' rights and limiting the size of the federal government.
Dwyer said he will work toward returning power to the state and local governments by working to repeal the 17th Amendment, which outlines the popular election of senators.
He said he believes "elected officials should protect and preserve the free market, not interfere with it."
Dwyer supports balancing the budget through an amendment, which would allow deficit spending only during wartime, severe recession or other emergencies with the approval of 60 percent of Congress. He believes this amendment would cut down or even eliminate the passage of bad bills.
He also supports repealing the 16th Amendment, which gives Congress the power to collect income tax. Dwyer believes taxes give the federal government unnecessary power over the free market. Additionally, he supports the FairTax bill, which would end federal income taxes and replace it with one federal retail sales tax thus taxing people on what they spend, not on what they earn.
On the topic of health care, Dwyer believes it is unconstitutional to make a person buy insurance.
Jeff Reed, 29, of Moberly, is the most recent addition to the race.
Reed said he was disappointed that a Democrat had not decided to run in the election, so he made the decision to sign up as a write-in candidate.
Reed believes that while the current health care legislation was a step in the right direction, he would like to see a public option for people to buy into instead of being forced to pay for insurance.
Because Reed works in small business, he would like to work toward closing the gap between big and small businesses. Reed said that when big companies make products for low prices overseas and sell them in the U.S. for high prices, they make a profit. They sell them at lower prices than small businesses. He said he would like to see businesses encouraged to manufacture their products in America.
"Small businesses do not have a fighting chance," Reed said.
He also would like to see the defense budget scaled back and more money allocated to education, job training and energy.
Reed opposes a tax increase for the middle class because he believes too much of the tax burden has been passed onto them.