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Columbia Missourian

VOTERS GUIDE: Candidates for lieutenant governor

By Jordan Shapiro, Matthew Patane
August 3, 2012 | 4:52 p.m. CDT

What's the job? The lieutenant governor becomes the acting governor of Missouri if the current governor dies, resigns or is unable to communicate. The lieutenant governor is also the president of the Missouri Senate, which means he or she opens the legislative session and casts the deciding vote in the event of a tie. 

The lieutenant governor is also the official advocate for senior residents of Missouri and serves on a number of boards and commissions, including the Missouri Housing Development Commission and the Missouri Tourism Commission. The officeholder must be at least 30 and have been a Missouri resident for at least 10 years. The current salary for the position is $86,484 per year. 

Republican Peter Kinder is the incumbent, and he is seeking his third term. 

Susan Montee (D) 

Susan Montee was one of the first Democratic candidates to file for lieutenant governor against Republican House Speaker Steve Tilley, who later dropped out of the race. Now, Montee is one of eight Democrats vying for her party’s nomination.

Montee was the state auditor after being elected in 2006 but was defeated in her bid for a second term by the current state auditor, Republican Tom Schweich. She said her experience at the Capitol prepared her to lead the state if the need should arise. She added that she knows "how to get the most out of our tax dollars" from her prior audits of two state financial boards on which the lieutenant governor serves.

After leaving the state auditor’s office, Montee was appointed chairwoman of the Missouri State Democratic Party. She left that position when she began running for lieutenant governor.

Dennis Weisenburger (D)

Weisenburger is a St. Joseph resident running for office to "help the aging, veterans, handicapped and any others that I feel the government is not responding to."

If elected, Weisenburger said his "priorities would be to see that we have a government for the people, by the people and for the people."

He is an Eagle Scout and a veteran. According to the Missouri Ethics Commission, he has not raised or spent any money for his campaign. 

Fred Kratky (D)  

Kratky said he wants to bring a better sense of harmony to the state legislature.

Kratky owns his own brokerage company and was a state House representative from 2002 to 2007. He served on the House Job Creation and Economic Development Committee.

He said he wants to use that experience and his "skills as a moderate legislator" to bring consensus to the General Assembly, especially in the state Senate chamber.

Kratky, of St. Louis, said he is "concerned about the affairs of Missouri."

"I want to turn the state over to my children in better shape than where we seem to be headed right now," Kratky said.

He said his main priorities include creating jobs, especially for veterans and people with disabilities, by providing incentives for companies to hire those people. He also said he wants to foster interest in Missouri's film and tourism industries.

Becky Lee Plattner (D) 

Plattner is a member of the Missouri Conservation Commission, which oversees the Missouri Department of Conservation. She was appointed in 2007 by Republican Gov. Matt Blunt. Before that, she was presiding commissioner of Saline County. 

Plattner's top issues are Missouri's financial fitness, tourism, energy, veterans, senior citizens and the state's volunteers. 

She is a member of the National Wildlife Conservation Federation and the Farm Bureau.

During her official campaign launch, Plattner said it is important that the lieutenant governor "add some leadership and some positive change." 

Judy Baker (D)

Judy Baker is the only Columbia native running for statewide office. She has continuously worked in the health-care industry and uses that experience as a foundation for her campaign.

"I believe strongly that my background is perfectly fit for (the office)," Baker said. She added that she is running for lieutenant governor to provide support for Missouri senior citizens and veterans. She said she also would use her past experience to grow the state’s tourism industry.

Baker was elected as a state representative in 2004. In 2008, she lost to Republican Blaine Luetkemeyer in a bid to become Missouri's 9th District U.S. representative.

Baker served as director of Region VII of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; the region includes Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa.

Sara Lampe (D) 

Lampe, of Springfield, began her career in the public school system. She was a teacher and administrator for 40 years before becoming a state representative in 2005. 

While in the House, Lampe was the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee. She was the only Democrat to represent the Springfield area.  

Lampe, who has reached her limit on terms she can serve in the House, said she is running for lieutenant governor because she wants to "use the bully pulpit of the office to speak up for Missouri's seniors, veterans and education."

She said her top issues are job creation, education and better care for seniors and veterans.  

Lampe is a member of the Gifted Association of Missouri, the League of Women Voters, the American Association of University Women and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. 

Jackie Townes McGee (D) 

Jackie Townes McGee says her world and life experience makes her "uniquely qualified" to take on the role of lieutenant governor.

"Missouri needs some qualified, competent leadership that is in touch with the people," she said.

From 1986 to 1994, McGee served in the state House, where she sponsored legislation aimed at helping and protecting Missouri children. In 1994, she ran unsuccessfully for a Missouri congressional seat.

McGee said she is committed to fulfilling the constitutional and statutory requirements of the office. She also said she is committed to rebuilding communities, especially those affected by the recession and recent natural disasters, as well as providing resources for job training and support of small businesses.

Bill Haas (D) 

Haas is an elected school board member of the St. Louis Public School System. He ran unsuccessfully for Congress against U.S. Rep. Todd Akin in 2008 and again in 2010. 

His top issue is job creation. If elected, Haas said he would advocate for more funding for higher education and early childhood education. 

"You increase jobs by increasing demand, which isn't by lowering taxes and regulations, though sometimes that is good," he said. 

His other priorities include freezing property taxes, improving care for seniors, ending campaign contributions from corporations and protecting the environment. 

Haas said he would try to work with the legislature to accomplish those goals but said the Republican-controlled General Assembly is "more responsive to corporate lobbyists." He said he would use the office of lieutenant governor to circulate initiative petitions if he is unsuccessful at getting the legislature to take up his goals.  

Charles Kullman (R) 

Kullman said he is in the race to "pay back" for his life and blessings. 

"I want to offer all my education and experience to the state of Missouri," he said.

If elected, Kullman said, he would push for a 5 percent raise for state employees making less than $40,000 a year. He added that as a senior and a veteran he would be able to effectively perform all the functions of the office.

"I think that the lieutenant governor takes care of veteran affairs, and I think they should have a veteran in charge of that," he said. 

Brad Lager (R)

Lager said he wants to use the position of lieutenant governor to create a better business and economic environment in Missouri. Lager said he supports entrepreneurship and limited business regulations.

"The (economic) environment that we have created has stifled growth … If we need to change the direction of this state, we need to change the leaders of this state."

Lager was elected to the state Senate in 2006 and represents 16 northwest Missouri counties. He is chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee and serves on eight other committees.

In 2008, Lager ran unsuccessfully against Democrat Clint Zweifel for state treasurer.

During the past two legislative sessions, Lager sponsored legislation that would have raised the standard of proof in workplace discrimination lawsuits. In both sessions, the bills, or similar ones, made it through the legislature, but were vetoed by the governor. After the governor’s veto this year, Lager and fellow Republicans endorsed a pared down version, which would have limited who could be considered a workplace whistleblower. That bill stalled on the Senate floor.

Peter Kinder (R)

Kinder is seeking his third term as lieutenant governor. He defeated Democrat Sam Page in 2008 and was the only Republican elected to statewide office in Missouri that year.

Kinder was first elected lieutenant governor in 2004. Before that, he served three terms in the state Senate representing the Cape Girardeau area. 

While in office, Kinder has advocated for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and filed a lawsuit on the subject in state and federal court. He also implemented a Senior Service and Veteran's Service Award program, which this year had more than 185 nominations. 

Kinder said he has "worked hard every day to serve the people of Missouri as their lieutenant governor, but I'm not finished." 

If re-elected, Kinder said he would launch a program to identify and weed out government waste. 

Mike Carter (R) 

As a candidate who has a master’s in journalism, Carter said he knows how to use the lieutenant governor’s office to reach the public and serve their needs.

He also said he would treat the office as it should be: "a part-time job that deserves part-time pay," adding that he does not need more public money than what "is truly deserved." He supports a ban on red-light cameras, smaller government and limiting the impact of the federal government on people.

Carter voted for both presidential candidates Ross Perot and Ron Paul in past elections, including Missouri’s 2012 Republican presidential primary when Paul was still running, according to his website.

Matthew Copple (Libertarian)

Matthew Copple is the sole Libertarian candidate running for lieutenant governor. He could not be reached for comment and phone calls left with party officials were not returned.

Copple filed for candidacy on March 23 and has filed for an campaign finance disclosure exemption with the Missouri Ethics Commission.

Cynthia L. Davis (Constitution) 

Davis served as a Republican state representative for four terms until she was term-limited out of office in 2011. After leaving office, Davis became executive director of the Center for Marriage Policy. She left the Republican Party in July 2011 and joined the Constitution party. 

Davis is running for lieutenant governor because she wants to hold the governor and legislature accountable, according to her website. 

"Our liberty is at stake, and there is no other candidate who will protect or defend our values," she wrote.

Davis said in a letter to the Republican Party that she left the GOP because it caters to too many special interests. 

She did not respond to a request for additional information. 

Missourian Reporter Fareeha Amir contributed to this report

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford