Voters guide: U.S. senator

Frank Gilmour, Lydia Lewis, Claire McCaskill and Jim Talent
Sunday, November 5, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 8:15 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

The U.S. Senate race has been a bitter contest between incumbent Republican Jim Talent and Democratic challenger Claire McCaskill. Libertarian Frank Gilmour and Progressive Party candidate Lydia Lewis are also in the race.

Talent, 50, of Chesterfield, was born and raised in the St. Louis area. He was elected state representative in 1984 and won the 2002 U.S. Senate race against Democratic incumbent Jean Carnahan.

McCaskill, 53, is also a lifelong resident of Missouri who has lived in Rolla, Lebanon, Columbia and the Kansas City area. She was elected a state representative for Kansas City in 1983 and Jackson County prosecuting attorney in 1993. She became state auditor in 1998 and has held the job since. In 2004, she won the Democratic gubernatorial primary over incumbent Gov. Bob Holden but lost her general election bid to Republican Matt Blunt.

Gilmour, 50, of Kirkwood, owns and operates Professional Equipment Mobile Maintenance, a company he launched six years ago after nearly 30 years in the equipment maintenance business.

Lewis of St. Louis became a late addition to the race when the Progressive Party’s petition for ballot status was approved by the Missouri secretary of state. Lewis retired as a functional systems analyst for the U.S. Army’s logistics computer system. She is a former secretary and treasurer of the National Federation of Federal Employees, Local 1763, and is chairwoman of the Two Rivers Greens. She was the Green Party nominee for 15th District state senator in 2004.

Talent has said he wants to expand alternative-fuel programs and open international markets for agricultural products. He wants to provide more money to fight methamphetamine abuse and to lower health insurance costs by allowing small businesses to buy into trade association policies.

He says he opposes amnesty for illegal immigrants, wants to boost border security and reform the immigration system. He says he wants to work on the Medicare prescription drug benefits for seniors, improve health care for U.S. troops and sustain Bush administration tax cuts.

Talent says it would be wrong to set a timetable for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, saying enemies would read the move as a sign of weakness. He opposes embryonic stem-cell research.

McCaskill wants to improve national security by working with other countries to confront radical Islamic fundamentalism and prevent the development of nuclear weapons. The United States, she said, must work with Iraq to foster a stable government from within the country. She says troops should be redeployed over the next two years.

She opposes amnesty for illegal immigrants and said she would work to improve border security and prosecute business owners who hire illegal workers.

She supports developing alternative fuels, stem cell research and expanded health care coverage.

Gilmour says he believes U.S. troops should withdraw from Iraq immediately. He says he is worried about the national debt and blames it on the fiscal irresponsibility of both major parties.

Gilmour says he opposes amnesty for illegal immigrants, the use of the National Guard to patrol the border and the construction of a border fence. Complete reform of immigration policy is necessary, he says.

He supports tougher laws against polluters, thinks the Patriot Act is an undue infringement on civil liberties and would work to prohibit the use of eminent domain for economic development.

Lewis also calls for the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq and for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. She says she wants to repeal the Patriot Act, enact universal single-payer health care and use public money to finance election campaigns. She also wants legislation to address global warming and to promote alternative means of transportation.

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