Dave Spence to run for Missouri governor

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 | 12:32 p.m. CST

JEFFERSON CITY — St. Louis businessman Dave Spence said Tuesday that he will run for Missouri governor, setting up a likely Republican primary for the right to challenge Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon in next year's elections.

Spence, who declared his candidacy in an interview with The Associated Press, becomes the first prominent Republican to officially enter the governor's race. But Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder also is expected to announce his gubernatorial candidacy soon. They would meet in an August primary.

"I am 100 percent committed to running for governor in 2012," Spence said Tuesday.

Spence, 53, is the president and CEO of Alpha Packaging, which makes plastic bottles for pharmaceuticals, vitamins and personal care products, among other things. He also is chairman of Legacy Packaging, a pharmaceutical packaging firm.

A first time candidate for public office, Spence will be starting with scant statewide name recognition, but he said Tuesday that he will put some of his own money into the campaign — "enough to be credible," though he declined to provide a specific dollar amount.

Kinder had no immediate comment about Spence's candidacy announcement. A spokesman for Nixon's campaign also had no immediate comment.

Spence said last week that he had taken some preliminary steps for a 2012 gubernatorial campaign and was considering running even if it meant a primary against Kinder. He said he was waiting for Kinder to announce his intentions before making a final decision. Spence said Tuesday that he decided he could no longer wait and needed to start organizing his own campaign committee. He promised a campaign focused on the economy.

"Job creation is number one — that is something that I understand, I've done it for a living," Spence said Tuesday. "As I talked to more and more employers and business owners around the state, I just felt there was a need for someone to come in and make sense of all it."

Spence said he wants to reduce government interference in businesses and make Missouri a "right-to-work" state where union fees cannot be a condition of employment. Missouri voters defeated a right-to-work ballot initiative in 1978. But since then, union membership rolls have declined, and Spence said he would support an effort to again place the issue before voters.

The economy figures to be the top issue for all of Missouri's gubernatorial candidates.

In the past year and a half, Nixon has attended more than 50 events with local officials touting decisions by specific businesses to locate in Missouri, expand their facilities or hire more employees — often with the aid of state tax incentives. A few of those businesses have since failed, including the recent high-profile demise of Mamtek U.S. Inc., which Nixon had said could create more than 600 jobs at a new production facility for artificial sweetener in Moberly.

Although the Mamtek deal collapsed before any state incentives actually were paid, the city of Moberly had issued $39 million in bonds for the facility. After Mamtek missed a bond payment to the city, Moberly said it would default on the bonds.

The Mamtek failure came in the midst of a special legislative session focused on economic development. The session's marquee bill would have pared back existing tax credits and created new incentives to spur international trade at the St. Louis airport, entice computer data centers to locate in Missouri and draw big-time amateur sporting events to the state. But the bill failed when the Republican-led House and Senate were unable to agree on a final version.

Spence blamed the bill's demise on Nixon and legislative leaders and pointed to the troubled special session as an example of why new leadership is needed in Missouri. Spence said he supports efforts to generate more revenue at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, but he said the legislation got loaded up with so many provisions that it became too cumbersome to pass.

"It was bad management all the way around," he said.

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Richard Saunders November 15, 2011 | 1:44 p.m.

Government, being a parasitic entity, has no capacity to create needed jobs, but only the capacity to force the creation of unneeded (i.e. make-work) jobs as a political payoff to some privileged group. While "putting people to work" may sound good, it is nothing but the squandering of what precious little savings that society has left, that could be far better utilized by individuals seeking to satisfy their own needs.

It is akin to eating the seed corn. Come next spring, what then?

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking November 15, 2011 | 5:57 p.m.

Richard Saunders wrote:

"While "putting people to work" may sound good, it is nothing but the squandering of what precious little savings that society has left, that could be far better utilized by individuals seeking to satisfy their own needs."

Unfortunately, these days, individuals seeking to satisfy their own needs invest in foreign enterprise or derivative markets, which don't generate many jobs.

China is in many ways still a totalitarian state, and their economy has outperformed ours for the last two decades. It's not so much if government or private individuals spend the money, it's how the money is spent. It's also how citizens live and what they value.


(Report Comment)
Jeff Jones November 18, 2011 | 6:28 p.m.

Right to work is Right to Work for less money.
Come on, you are telling me that Right to Work proponents want Missourians to make more money. NOT. This is just another ploy by republicans to take money from working families in Missouri. Job creation to republicans is simply creating more Hot dog vendor jobs with no benefits. The working people of Missouri will support their champion, Governor Jay Nixon.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking November 20, 2011 | 6:21 a.m.

Jeff Jones wrote:

"Come on, you are telling me that Right to Work proponents want Missourians to make more money."

Well, it might mean that more Missourians would be working. Unemployment in right-to-work states is lower, by a bit less than a percentage point, than in union states. I'm sure right-to-work is not the only factor in those states, but also suspect it plays a major role.

When an industry like the auto industry is the only game in town, like it was here during the '50s and '60s, workers can demand wages far in excess of market wages. However, in a globalized world like ours presently, workers are competing against workers in countries with far lower standards of living, and as such, may have to concede some earnings in order to stay employed.

To be fair, modern unions do understand that for the most part. But they're also increasingly irrelevant in the labor marketplace.


(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith November 20, 2011 | 7:32 a.m.

What also matters is costs to hiring and training people. If they are already trained/experienced when hired, they expect more remuneration.

One of those costs is FICA, the matching employer contribution to the employee's FICA deduction. Is that BAD? No, but it's an expense.

It becomes more and more attractive for employers to reorganize their existing work forces and the tasks performed, and to buy labor-saving equipment (labor-saving equipment to eliminate both blue collar and white collar jobs) rather than hire more workers.

In the 1970s I worked for someone who had a technical contract with a manufacturer in India. In assisting them we had to bear in mind that we must always CREATE AS MANY JOBS AS POSSIBLE! They were creating lots of jobs, but paying workers very little (with the blessing and encouragement of the Indian federal government). That philosophy is both foreign and repugnant to engineers. :-(

(Report Comment)
frank christian November 20, 2011 | 10:24 a.m.

"To be fair, modern unions do understand that for the most part. But they're also increasingly irrelevant in the labor marketplace."

Nat'l Labor Relations Board, now two D's - one R' are breaking their own rules in order to get new legislation making union takeover of business quicker and easier, passed before end of year when one Democrat's term expires, leaving the board without a quorum. "NRLB has issued a number of pro-union decisions over the past year". Republicans say the agency is leaning too far in favor of organized labor "at the expense of business interests" an have been preventing Obama from going around Senate with "recess appointments" to the board.

Without the necessary changes in our governmentS (removal of Democrats), unions most certainly Will become relevant "in the labor marketplace", in ways detrimental to us all.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith November 20, 2011 | 1:07 p.m.

"To be fair, modern unions do understand that for the most part."

Modern INDUSTRIAL unions understand it, because they are well aware of the consequences. I'm less certain some other unions and their memberships understand how things are.

In terms of number of workers and percentage of the workforce this is admittedly a minority group, but the industries involved are huge in terms of our daily lives. Try getting along without fuel or chemicals, and steel, aluminum, glass, etc. and the finished products made from them.

(Report Comment)
frank christian November 20, 2011 | 2:28 p.m.

Is there some doubt that if Obama and Democrats were left to their devises, membership in a union would be a requirement for employment in most any U.S. job?

"Striking workers have blockaded fuel reservoirs, leaving as many as one-third of the nation's gas stations dry, and the government has sent in the police to force three fuel depots to open, though several others are still blocked. Strikes are disrupting subways, buses, trains, and the boats that carry fuel into the port of Marseille. Now high-schoolers have joined the protests and are barring entry to schools around the country. (Nearly 400 high schools have been affected, according to officials; more than 1,000, according to high-school-union representatives. And, yes, in France, high-school students have unions.)"

This from SLATE,showing what happened in France "after President Nicolas Sarkozy's plan to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62 and the full state pension age from 65 to 67. "

(Report Comment)
Gregg Bush November 20, 2011 | 2:49 p.m.

Santorum wants to
Give labor unions money -
If they're in Iran.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith November 21, 2011 | 5:58 a.m.

A bear, however hard he tries,
Grows tubby without exercise.
Our Teddy Bear is short and fat,
Which is not to be wondered at,
He gets what exercise he can
By falling off the ottoman.
But generally seems to lack
The energy to clamber back.

From a forthcoming anthology of A. A. Milne verses, titled "Christopher Robin Meets Haiku," Thames & Hudson publishers, printed in China.

(Report Comment)
Dan Lingenfelter February 16, 2012 | 6:30 a.m.

I need to know if you are for the helmet law.Nixon cost us millions i tourist money on this law.

(Report Comment)

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