Place of residence: Wardsville
Education: Blair Oaks High School; University of Missouri, bachelor of science in agricultural economics; University of Missouri School of Law
Political experience: First time candidate, long time supporter of Republican candidates and issues.
Opponent: Linda Greeson
Recent state income tax cuts have been hailed by some as an economic jumpstart and derided by others as taking money that’s needed for social services and education. What is your opinion?
In recent years, lawmakers have cut income taxes and I support that move. However, it must be coupled with a reduction in spending in order to achieve a balanced budget. Generally speaking, when individuals and businesses pay lower taxes, they reinvest directly into the economy. Individuals who take home more of what they earn have the opportunity to invest that money in education, homes, cars, etc. Businesses that pay a lower corporate tax rate can invest in physical expansion, adding jobs, and increasing pay and benefits to their employees. Taxes are a “necessary evil”, but in general should be limited as much as possible so capitalism and the free market can thrive.
Voters will decide Nov. 6 whether to raise Missouri’s gas tax. Do you support raising the tax?
In general I’m not a fan of taxes, but it is time to take action and do something about our roads. It has been over two decades since Missouri last raised the gas tax. Adjusted for inflation, the value of that tax is less than half what it was in 1996. Since that time, we have also added over 6,000 new highway miles. Prop D will gradually phase in and bring the tax back into line with current dollars and give our state the funds necessary to ensure our highways are safe and efficient. A modern infrastructure allows individuals and businesses to be more efficient, increases productivity, and attracts industry to our state. We simply cannot pass this burden to the next generation and I urge Missouri voters to cast their vote in favor of Proposition D.
Voters will also decide on whether to approve any of three medical marijuana proposals. What are your thoughts on the issue?
I believe very strongly in an individual’s right to make decisions regarding their own health. There are many studies that show marijuana to be beneficial to certain medical conditions when used under the guidance of a physician. At the same time I am concerned about drug use, especially among our youth, and therefore want to ensure Missouri moves forward cautiously so we can be certain adequate controls are in place. There are differences in the three proposals on the ballot and I encourage voters to research them thoroughly and make an informed decision as to what you think is in the best interest of your fellow Missourians.
What other key issues do you see facing the state?
There are a number of key issues we face and many of them are intertwined. The two broadest issues that I believe we must focus on in order for other concerns to be addressed are:
Fiscal Responsibility – It is our responsibility to maintain a balanced budget and not pass our debt to our children. This will require taking on difficult issues and setting priorities. Within the balanced budget, we must find a way to take care of our roads, buildings, and technology. These issues are not going away with time, it will require action. Along with infrastructure issues, we must address other necessities such as quality education, competitive pay for state employees, and a commitment to law enforcement and public safety. There are challenges to meeting our needs within a balanced budget, not the least of which are the many constraints put on us by the Federal government. I look forward to working with experts in various fields and other legislators from around the state to find innovative ways to make the most of the resources we have as well as identify new opportunities to meet our needs without putting unnecessary burden on Missouri taxpayers.
Economic Development – A strong commitment to economic development is key to our future. We must create an environment that clears the way for our businesses to succeed and makes new businesses and individuals want to come to Missouri. One important part of that equation is the development of a skilled, educated workforce. A quality workforce is critical in all areas of our economy – from the smallest construction company to the largest hospital – all businesses need employees who are ready to take on the challenges of the rapidly changing world economy. A willing and educated workforce, the availability of adequate healthcare, modern infrastructure, and a commitment from our elected officials all tie together to ensure Missouri businesses can grow and we attract new industries to our state.