Local businessman and Democrat Duane Burghard on Friday morning formally announced his candidacy for the Ninth Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Burghard hopes to land the seat currently held by Rep. Kenny Hulshof, R-Columbia. He’ll face an August primary if another Democrat files. The seat will be filled in the November 2006 general election.
While Burghard said he has disagreed with several votes Hulshof has made in the House, including one that led to cuts in veterans’ benefits, he hopes to forge a campaign that focuses on the political and not the personal. He hopes, for example, that he’ll never utter the words “Kenny Hulshof is ...”
Burghard made his announcement during a news conference outside the Boone County Government Center. About 15 people attended, including 25th District State Rep. Judy Baker, D-Columbia, and Boone County Northern District Commissioner Skip Elkin, who is also a Democratic candidate for the 21st District Missouri House seat.
Former Gov. Roger Wilson introduced Burghard to the group. Burghard “knows and understands the Ninth Ddistrict,” Wilson said.
“I think he will put on a challenging race,” Baker said. She added that she thinks there is “a lot of dissatisfaction among voters about the current administration.”
The two driving issues of Burghard’s campaign will be restoring courtesy in government and “getting our spending under control,” Burghard said.
“We need to get to the point where we are treating those who disagree with us as we would want to be treated,” he said.
Burghard said other prominent issues of his campaign include removing the role of partisan politics in science, creating a fair tax code, supporting veterans’ benefits and military troops and moving to alternative sources of energy.
Burghard said he is also concerned that many important government positions are being filled by unqualified candidates. He cited Mike Brown, the former head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as one of countless examples. Brown resigned his post after relentless criticism in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Burghard, the founder and CEO of MacXprts Network of Columbia, likened the process of appointing government officials to that of hiring employees in business.
“I wouldn’t hire someone for a crucial position in my company who wasn’t the most highly qualified person for the job,” he said. “The same principle should be carried over.”
Burghard is a formal Navy officer and in 1992 ran for the Ninth District seat as an independent candidate.