Lieutenant governor hopefuls split on role

Monday, July 26, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 5:22 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Republican and Democratic candidates for lieutenant governor say that a prescription drug plan is high on their agenda and are divided on what they see as the role of the lieutenant governor.

Democrats Bekki Cook and Ken Jacob, and Republican Peter Kinder all cited Senate Bill 1160, which establishes the Prescription Drug Repository Program, as legislation they hope to see passed in the next session. The bill, co-sponsored by Kinder and Jacob, describes the program as designed to “accept and dispense donated prescription drugs to eligible Missouri residents.”

Rep. Pat Secrest, R-Manchester, who is also running for lieutenant governor, said she believes that a prescription drug plan is important for Missouri’s seniors, but didn’t comment specifically on the bill.

“The lieutenant governor’s position has always been seen as an advocate for seniors,” Cook said. “They’re very interested in which candidates are going to be listening.”

As the primary election draws closer, it seems that candidates are more divided on what they see as the role of the lieutenant governor than specific issues.

Last year’s legislative session was marked by several partisan struggles, and these candidates are looking toward the lieutenant governor’s role as president of the Senate to establish more dominance for their respective parties. Jacob and Kinder said their experiences in the Senate are examples of their ability to do this.

“I’ve been a Democratic leader during some of the worst times for our party, and we’re still going through them,” Jacob said. “We have a very distinctive enemy, with polar opposite views. The Senate is more divided than at any time before. I find their agenda repugnant.”

Kinder’s campaign slogan “Every Dollar Counts” is based on the budget cuts on internal Senate spending made through the leadership of the Republican majority, he said.

“There was $1.5 million of waste and that was in one little corner of state government,” Kinder said. “Every dollar counts is the vision we’d take to the executive branch.”

Cook and Secrest also emphasized their ability to preside over the Senate .

“I’ve spent six years in state office, learning the ropes, and getting the staff together,” said Cook, the former Secretary of State. “This office is about being able to let there be fair and open debate, which I know I can do.”

Secrest highlighted her role as a minority member of the House of Representatives as one of the advantages she said she hopes to bring to the office.

“When you serve in the minority, you learn to get along with everyone, and you learn to push for what you believe in,” Secrest said. “I stood up for conservative values in the House, and I still do that today.”

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