GOP candidates vary campaigns for governor bid

Friday, July 23, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:01 a.m. CDT, Thursday, July 10, 2008

While Secretary of State Matt Blunt has for months been billed as the presumptive Republican nominee for Missouri governor, those who pick up a GOP ballot at the polls on Aug. 3 will have choices.

Here’s a look at the lesser-known candidates.

  • Karen Lee Dee Skelton-Memhardt, 50, has lived in St. Louis for 35 years. She has two children and one grandchild.

    Skelton-Memhardt earned her human resources degree from Webster University. She runs an insurance agency for home and automobile owners.

  • Skelton-Memhardt served as a board member for the Jefferson County Sewer District from 1990 to 1999 and served as a director of the National Association of Insurance Women from 1992 to 1995. She also lobbied for welfare reform at the state capitol for two years until she announced her candidacy for governor. She is a volunteer for the American Red Cross and a certified mentor for handicapped children for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

    The welfare of families, particularly children, is one of her primary concerns. She believes that about half the children in foster care could be returned to their homes if the state would assist their families financially. She also said the Missouri Division of Family Services and the state’s judicial system should adhere more closely to state and federal laws.

    “We must do preservation of the family,” she said. “We should never take a child from a family.”

    Skelton-Memhardt also said health care needs to be made available to all children of low-income families.

    In addition to welfare and health issues, Skelton-Memhardt said there is no reason to raise taxes or to spend more money on public schools. To improve education, she wants to look into the misuse of school funding and mismanagement of school operations. She also wants to implement more practical and technical curriculums in high school.

    “How many kids graduate from high school with skills?” she said. “They can’t get a job, they don’t know how to buy their first home. We need to start educating them in high school. We need to make sure that all kids in our state go to college.”

  • Jennie Lee Sievers, 70, has lived in Jackson since 1959. She has one daughter and two granddaughters.
  • What’s the job?

    The governor is the highest elected official in the executive branch and is in charge of enforcing laws made by the legislative branch. The governor also chooses directors of state agencies, selects citizens for boards and official groups and fills empty positions in county offices. The governor has the authority to call special sessions for the legislature and activate the National Guard for state emergencies. A governor can serve two four-year terms. The salary is $120,086 a year.

    Sievers earned her professional paralegal degree in 1994 and her civil litigation degree in 1997 from the School of Paralegal Studies Professional Career Development Institute in Georgia. She is the former owner and operator of Ideal Grocery and Rainbow Grill in Jackson.

    Sievers is focusing on issues such as military services, nursing homes and youths.

    As a governor, Sievers said she would fully support all the military troops, including the U.S. Armed Forces and the Missouri National Guard.

    Sievers also said nursing homes need to be inspected randomly without notification for everything, including hygiene and treatment of people.

    “They are residents, not patients,” she said. “They are people who need loving tender care, not rough treatment.”

    Sievers said she is ready to serve the people of Missouri and to treat them the way she would like to be treated.

  • Martin “Mad Dog” Lindstedt, 46, was born in Pierre, S.D., and has lived in the Granby area since 1965. Lindstedt has run for political office many times over the past 10 years, making unsuccessful bids for everything from school board and municipal judge to state representative and governor.
  • After serving the U.S. Army from 1981 to 1983, he earned a degree in business administration from the Missouri Southern State College in Joplin in 1984.

    Lindstedt earned his living as a factory worker and then a truck driver until 1997. He now lives on an inheritance from his grandmother.

    Lindstedt’s background includes criminal convictions. He was convicted of contempt of court in 1996 after refusing to pay the fine and court fees for traffic violation. He was also convicted of trespassing at the Heidelberg in Columbia during a 1997 Libertarian Party gathering called to expel him from the party.

    Lindstedt also has been involved in numerous lawsuits, including three suits he filed against the city of Granby and one against the Missouri Libertarian Party. He lost all the cases.

    Lindstedt sued Blunt on Wednesday at the U.S. District Court in Springfield. The lawsuit alleges that Blunt refused to display Lindstedt’s nickname, “Mad Dog,” on the ballot and to post his campaign Web site on the secretary of state’s Web page.

    Stence Jackson, communications director for the secretary of state, said Lindstedt did not justify that he was known by the nickname “Mad Dog.” Jackson said the opinions of the secretary of state and the attorney general grant an opportunity for candidates to use their nicknames if they provide legal documents or other acceptable forms to justify the description.

    As for Lindstedt’s Web site, Jackson said its contents are too offensive to be posted on the secretary’s Web site; it includes disparaging comments against minorities and others. Jackson also said that Lindstedt signed a statement in March that says the secretary can decide whether the information is appropriate to be posted.

    As a political activist of the Dual Seedline Christian Identity, Lindstedt said he identifies with the racist philosophies promoted by Richard Butler of the Church of Jesus Christ and the Aryan Nations. Butler is a self-described white supremacist and neo-Nazi.

    “Better than 95 percent of our faith are underground and take great pains to stay that way,” he said.

    Lindstedt’s campaign focuses on his goal of attaining “freedom” by overthrowing the government and finishing “the Revolutionary work left undone after 1776-1781.”

    While Lindstedt acknowledges he has little chance of winning, he said he hopes to draw votes from front-running candidate Matt Blunt and to “destroy the Missouri Republican Party.”

  • Jeff Killian, 32, of Jackson is a 30-year resident of Missouri. He is married and has two children.
  • For 12 years of his career, Killian worked in health care, spending several as a caregiver in nursing homes and several working for the Missouri Department of Mental Health. He now works as a forklift operator and attends Southeast Missouri State University, where he is majoring in political science. He hopes to graduate in December.

    “I’ve been studying political science for four years, and I know how to do the job (of governor),” he said. “This is the job I want, the job I am educated to do, the job I applied for.”

    Killian’s campaign has focused on education and health care. He said he would work for “better management and better treatment of the personnel on the lower end of every industry.”

    To reform education, Killian said he wants to meet the needs of teachers. “I know they spend from $300 to $500 a year out of their pocket for supplies in the classroom,” he said. “I want to see them get their money back.”

    As for the education budget, Killian said the $23 million appropriation for fiscal year 2005 that Gov. Bob Holden and the state legislature have put into higher education “should have gone to K-12 schools to pay teachers, or it should have gone into economic department packages for small towns to bring jobs back into Missouri.”

    Killian said the answer to health care reform — including affordable insurance coverage, prescription drug costs, Medicare and Medicaid — is to control malpractice lawsuits because they drive up the overall cost of care. He said he would seek tort reform and a cap on awards in malpractice suits.

  • Roy Lang, 68, was born in St. Louis and has lived in Missouri for more than 50 years.
  • Before completing high school, Lang dropped out and joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1954. He was discharged in 1957. He started a tire business in 1959 and retired in 1996.

    Although he has no experience in politics, Lang said he has gained knowledge by reading books on economical and social theories and by running his own business for most of his life. Lang said he has witnessed that as the size of governments increased, the economic power of small businesses decreased.

    “I would like to see the federal and state governments reduced,” he said. “It is not suitable to run the economy.”

    Lang’s campaign focuses on revitalizing small businesses to increase their ability to compete with foreign manufacturers, particularly those in China and Mexico.

    “An increase in ingenuity by the population of Missouri will result in a decrease in foreign competition,” he said. “It will also result in a rise in small businesses, which will result in a decrease in monopoly by big businesses.”

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