Local GOP lawmakers line up behind Giuliani

Tuesday, December 18, 2007 | 7:34 p.m. CST; updated 4:49 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

COLUMBIA — When it’s time to elect a new president, candidates — no matter how well known — actively seek local legislators to join their cause. Rudy Giuliani, for example, who will be in Columbia on Wednesday, has the endorsement of several central Missouri lawmakers in hopes of also influencing their constituents.

State Rep. Ed Robb, R-Columbia, is one of those lawmakers. Robb said he supports Giuliani for two reasons — fiscal philosophy and national security — because Giuliani’s position on those issues match his own.

If you go

What: A town hall meeting with GOP presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani Where: Columbia Expo Center, next to the Holiday Inn Select, 2200 I-70 Drive SW When: Wednesday; door open at 2 p.m.; Giuliani will speak at 2:15 p.m. Admission: Free.

“I believe that, here in Missouri, we need to live within our means, and we have balanced budget requirements. At the federal level, we also need that approach,” Robb said. “I also agree with him on closing the borders and having a strong defense.”

State Rep. Steve Hobbs, R-Mexico, also endorses Giuliani, saying he was asked to do so by U.S. Sen. Kit Bond. Hobbs said he is struck most by Giuliani’s leadership skills.

“I had always been really impressed by what I saw and heard during the 9/11 attacks,” Hobbs said.

State Rep. Steve Tilley, R-Perryville, the co-chairman for Giuliani’s Missouri campaign, spoke in person with the former New York City mayor in June.

“I went into the meeting with no expectations, but when I compared his record with other candidates, he’s head and shoulders above the rest,” Tilley said. “He’s got a great conservative record on cutting taxes, being tough on crime and reforming welfare. He turned New York City from a city that was the country’s murder capital where no one wanted to live and into a growing, vibrant city that was safe to visit.

“He gives Republicans the best chance to win in the general election,” Tilley continued, “because I think he can run a competitive campaign in all 50 states. He does well with conservatives and independents for a good crossover effect.”

Robb, Hobbs, Bond and Tilley, along with other state legislators, will attend the town hall meeting with Giuliani in Columbia. The candidate will meet with the legislators either before or after his speech.

“All of us are supporting him, so we’ll discuss several issues,” Robb said. “Later on in the campaign, we’ll be talking about more specific issues.”

Robb said Giuliani is interested in state matters as well. “He has an interest in our fiscal infrastructure and development, but obviously, most of the issues he’s focusing on are of national scope,” Robb said. “I will ask him to seriously consider abolishing the Department of Education on a national level, because it’s unnecessary and just a waste of money. My personal preference is that the federal government should get out of education. Education is a local issue, as long as the education system is working.”

Hobbs said he hopes the public will listen to Giuliani and — if they get the opportunity — ask questions that matter to them. “What’s important to one constituent and their next door neighbor may be totally different,” Hobbs said. “That’s what a campaign is about — candidates want to know constituents’ views and tell them their views.”

Tilley said Giuliani’s town hall meetings are unscripted. “That’s how he’s always been.”

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