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Addressing state issues

Six local candidates voiced their opinions on several issues Wednesday night at Broadway Christian Church. Former 19th District state Sen. Joe Moseley moderated the forum, attended by about 55 people.
Thursday, September 30, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 1:58 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

19th District state senate seat

No Child Left Behind

Democrat Chuck Graham: The federal government needs to provide more money for the execution of the act and there needs to be better testing provisions to track individual children as they go through school.

Republican Mike Ditmore: The act is a good idea, but needs significant revisions including more funding.

Top issue or concern

Graham: Protecting, defending and enhancing the University of Missouri is his top concern. “If we’re going to have an educated workforce, we’ve got to have people afford to be able to go to school.”

Ditmore: “I think health care is in a crisis. We’ve got to do something to hold down health care costs. Tort reform is part of that.”

Tort reform

Graham: He will support it if limited to medical malpractice.

Ditmore: He supports the entire bill that was passed by the legislature last year but vetoed by Gov. Bob Holden, which included venue reform and non-economic damage caps.

K-12 funding

Graham: Said a court decision will require the school foundation formula to be re-written to be more equitable. He supports increasing the tax on casino revenue for additional revenue.

Ditmore: Funding needs to be a priority above everything else and needs to be more consistent. “Right now, (schools are) not sure how much they are going to get.”

Moving medical school to Kansas City

Graham: “As soon as I found out that was a discussion, I contacted (UM system President) Floyd and (Chancellor) Wallace and said it wasn’t acceptable.” Graham proposes “killing” the nomination of curators who support the move.

Ditmore: Supports a bond issue that includes building a health sciences research center at MU. “If we do, it becomes a moot issue.”

24th District state representative seat

No Child Left Behind

Democrat Travis Ballenger: He thinks the act meant well but changes need to be made, and the mandate needs to be funded.

Republican Ed Robb: It’s something that can be fixed, but right now it’s hard to monitor students’ progress.

Top issue or concern

Ballenger: K-12 funding is his top priority and “we need to send representatives that understand that.”

Robb: The state needs to scrap the current K-12 funding formula. “The courts are about to tell us it’s a train wreck, and too many people are willing to get on that train.”

Tort reform

Ballenger: He will support tort reform for physicians only.

Robb: He will only support the entire bill, with no concessions.

K-12 Funding

Ballenger: He said he wants to close corporate tax loopholes, eliminate the casino loss limit and increase the tax on casino owners to make more money.

Robb: Wants to leave the formula base of property taxes for funding schools and go to a per-pupil distribution of funds.

Moving medical school to Kansas City

Ballenger: He would build coalitions with other representatives to prevent the move.

Robb: It’s one of his top priorities, and he said the university needs to become the type of medical research center it should be.

25th District state representative seat

No Child Left Behind

Democrat Judy Baker: The act needs revisions. She is concerned about unequal proficiency exams across states.

Republican Bob Northup: Children shouldn’t be limited from excelling to the best of their abilities.

Top issue or concern

Baker: “Moving money to classrooms, mainly in teachers’ salaries,” Baker said. She supports programs to recruit and maintain teachers.

Northup: “Stopping MoDOT from tearing up Columbia.”

Tort reform

Baker: She supports limiting the bill to medical malpractice and insurance reform. “The claims performance needs to be tied to the premium.”

Northup: He supports the bill. “We here educate doctors who can’t even practice in Missouri.”

K-12 Funding

Baker: Would try to take “local funding” and put that in a state pool because Missouri is ranked 48th in the percentage of state education funding in the nation and she’d like to see that come up.

Northup: He doesn’t think public schools need more funding

Moving medical school to Kansas City

Baker: She would continue the argument by defining the impact it would have on Columbia.

Northup: He would work hard to get a health sciences center funded.


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