Candidates for Missouri lieutenant governor express why they should be elected

Saturday, October 27, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 10:30 a.m. CDT, Monday, April 1, 2013

COLUMBIA — The Nov. 6 ballot includes a four-way race for lieutenant governor that features three political veterans, including one who is representing the Constitution Party.

The candidates are two-term Republican incumbent Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, former Democratic State Auditor Susan Montee, Constitution Party candidate Cynthia Davis and Libertarian Matthew Copple, who has not actively campaigned and did not respond to Missourian requests for interviews.

Lieutenant governor is Missouri's second-highest statewide office. In recent interviews, the three active candidates spoke about why they believe they deserve Missourians' votes.

Peter Kinder, Republican

"I am proud of my record and it's on the basis of the record that I ask another term."

Kinder, who has served two terms in the state's second highest office, lists some of the goals he has achieved over the past eight years:

  • He chaired a committee that created the Tour of Missouri Professional Cycling Race, which ran in 2007, 2008 and 2009. The race boosted the state economy and attracted riders from 22 countries, Kinder said, but it was canceled in 2010 due to budget cuts.
  • Acting as governor in 2005, Kinder signed legislation that offered emergency financial assistance for families of national guardsmen and reservists deployed after 9/11.
  • He chaired the 2009 Alzheimers Task Force, which wrote policy recommendations for how the state can prepare to meet the mental health needs of aging baby boomers. 
  • Frugality. Kinder said he has never spent the entire budget for the lieutenant governor's office. "I've always returned money unspent; I believe I'm the only statewide official who can say that I've done that," he said.

Kinder said one way he saves money is by driving himself rather than hiring a chauffeur. "All candidates want to talk the talk of fiscal conservatism; I believe that I can demonstrate that I've walked the walk," he said.

In 2011, Kinder announced he would not run for governor, after the St. Louis Dispatch reported that Kinder spent about $54,000 for lodging while attending sporting events, social galas and other nongovernmental events.

Susan Montee, Democrat

"I have a tendency to work towards cooperation."

Montee said partisanship in the Missouri General Assembly is "horrible." Her bipartisan credentials include serving as the Buchanan County auditor from 2000 to 2006 and as state auditor from 2006 to 2010.

"We look like we fight over everything and it looks like we get nothing done," she said of Democrats and Republicans.

She also wants better disclosure of the financial ties between politicians and businesses. For instance, she proposes enacting recommendations she made in an audit of the Missouri Housing Development Commission.

When housing commissioners receive money from developers, and developers receive contracts from the commissioners, Montee said the public should be informed.

Because the lieutenant governor sits on the housing commission, Montee said that if she's elected she will not accept contributions from developers and that she doesn't know of any developers who have contributed to her campaign thus far.

Cynthia Davis, Constitution Party

"People are unsatisfied with the current choices ...  Let's give the people some choices besides Democrat and Republican."

After serving as a state representative from 2002 to 2010, Davis left the Republican Party.

'There are just too many special interests with too much money," she wrote in a letter to the party's central committee. "Both major political parties are responsible for implementing bad policies."

When asked what policies she supports, Davis said the right to life and preserving the sanctity of marriage.

Davis refused to embrace specific legislative efforts because she did not want to make promises she couldn't keep.

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.

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