Republican, Libertarian seek to succeed Deeken in 114th

Voters in western Jefferson City and Cole County won’t be sending a Democrat to the state Legislature — none filed to seek the seat now held by the term-limited Bill Deeken, R-Jefferson City.

Republican Jay Barnes captured the GOP nomination in a four-person primary race in August.

Libertarian Janine Steck of St. Martins had no primary opposition.

Read the full article about this race in our newspaper or e-Edition for Friday, Oct. 29, 2010.

Below are complete questions and answers for both candidates:

Republican candidate Jason “Jay” Barnes, age 30

(1a) Why I’m Running for This Office

I’m running because I’m concerned about the future of our community. We need someone in the state Capitol who will work to create new private jobs here and who will stand up for state employees. I will do both.

In just the past eight years, we’ve lost 14 percent of our population between the ages of 25 and 44. That might not seem like much, but it’s actually three times the loss rate of the state of Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina.

At the very same time, we’re seeing (1) a loss of state jobs; (2) stagnant wages for existing state employees; and (3) a full-scale assault on state benefits. Between the mass exodus of young professionals and future job creators and the new war on state employees, we’re losing the foundation of our own economic future.

As a small business owner, a former state employee, parent of young children and a nearly life-long resident of Cole County, I don’t want to see us continue down the path of economic irrelevance. I want to help turn things around.

(1b) Why I’m the Best Candidate

SHORT-ANSWER: I’m the candidate most ready to serve our community on day one.

Vision.

I’m the only candidate in this race who has laid out a vision for the future of our community and state. Voters in western Cole County should know exactly where I stand on the issues that are most important to our community. Those issues are discussed later in this questionnaire. Voters who would like to learn more can go to my website at www.barnesformissouri.com or can call me on my cell phone at 418.0719.

Energy.

I’m the candidate with the most energy. With help from volunteers, we’ve knocked the vast majority of doors in this district and we’re in the process of following up with 7,000 personal phone calls. Though this activity by itself is not a qualification, it is indicative of the type of effort I’ll make for the people of western Cole County. Legislation does not pass itself. It requires elected officials who will put the time necessary in to persuade their colleagues that their legislation is in the best interests of the state. I’ll put the same level of energy into my job as state representative as I’ve put in this campaign.

Experience.

I’m the most experienced candidate in this race. I have worked as (1) the General Counsel for Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Michael Gibbons, (2) as a speechwriter and policy counsel for Governor Matt Blunt, and (3) as the policy director on Kenny Hulshof’s campaign for governor in 2008. The Associated Press dubbed Hulshof “Mr. New Idea” for the quantity and quality of the policy proposals he made to move our state forward. I’m proud to say I led policy efforts on that campaign.

I’m also a small business owner and former state employee. I think this is important because I have actual experience with the two most important issues facing our community: How to attract new businesses to our area and how to defend state employees in our state capitol.

In my spare time, I’ve helped found www.MissouriRecord.com, and have past experience as a reporter for Newsmax magazine, a national political magazine with a website at www.newsmax.com.

(2) What do you think the biggest issue(s) will be if you’re elected and what solutions do you have, if any, for solving that/those issue(s)??

My top priority is jobs — adding new private jobs to our local economy and standing up for state employees in Cole County. Most people think the biggest issue facing our state is the budget crisis, which is true to an extent, but which I believe puts effect before cause.

We have a state budget crisis because we have a jobs problem in our state, not the other way around.

If we can get our economy turned around, the budget crisis will abate.

There are two aspects to the jobs issue: Local and statewide.

Private Jobs:

Locally, I will work to create new private jobs here by encouraging re-development of the old prison just east of downtown. It’s been 11 years since we learned JCCC would be moved, and we don’t have much to show for it. We have a new federal courthouse courtesy of Kit Bond, and about five different iterations of a “master plan.”

I believe the old prison represents a once-in-a-century opportunity for our community. We have the chance to create a world-class tourist attraction, and a chance to entice new businesses to our community.

So, instead of a bunch of new state office buildings, I’d like to see private development. We need to save the historical aspects. The prison tours are going well and represent a major growth area for our economy. And we need to find a way to get new businesses in there.

Altogether, the old prison represents our best opportunity to diversify our local economy and attract new jobs.

At present, the land is controlled by the state Office of Administration. No offense to Gov. Nixon’s appointees in OA, but they do not have the long-term interests of our community at heart — and that would be true whether we had a Republican or Democrat as governor.

The fact is that the people in charge of OA are not from Cole County, and likely won’t remain in Cole County after their governor’s term is up.

I would like to see the state sell the land to an entity or entities with the long-term interests of our own community at heart.

Whether that’s a local government or non-profit group, a local business, local individuals, or some combination thereof, I’m not sure.

Regardless, the land should be owned and run by local stakeholders, not statewide political appointees.

State employees:

I’ve offered a “Contract with State Employees” that I’ve posted at www.barnesformissouri.com and mailed to thousands of state employees in my district. The full post is available at http://barnesformissouri.wordpress.com/2010/05/10/68/.

If I’m elected to the House, I pledge the following:

As a former state employee and current small business owner in Cole County, I understand how important state employees are to our local economy. Nearly every small business owner in our community relies upon state employees for their customers. And, of course, state employees rely on state employment to provide for their families.

When state employees suffer, our community suffers.

As your representative, I will stand up for state employees in the state capitol. But rather than just making that blanket statement, I want to make five precise promises on what I will do for state employees.

The following is my Contract with State Employees. If I have the privilege of serving western Cole County in the Missouri House of Representatives, I will take the following actions:

  1. I Will Fight for Pay Raises Every Year — Missouri state employees are currently the second-lowest paid state employees in the entire country. That’s an embarrassment to our state and a detriment to our local economy. Though state government is in the midst of a budget crisis, that crisis was not caused by state employees — and state employees should not be forced to suffer for problems they didn’t cause. As your state representative, I will fight for pay raises every single year. We have to move out of the national cellar in state employee pay.
  2. I Will Defend State Pensions — Though state employees are not, on average, highly compensated, they do enjoy generous benefits. Those benefits, and most especially the state pension system, allow the state to attract higher quality employees at lower salaries than they would otherwise demand. If you work for the state for 20 or 30 years, you know you will have a solid retirement. Unfortunately, both Republicans and Democrats in our state capitol and the Governor’s Mansion are putting that security in jeopardy. I believe moves to cut state pensions are short-sighted, and will fight against any and all efforts to cut benefits.
  3. I Will Protect Jobs in Cole County — Ours is the only community in the state whose economy is heavily reliant on state employees. Though there are 15,000 state employees in Cole County, there are 45,000 more who work throughout the state. Yet, despite the fact that we’re the only economy substantially affected by state employees and comprise just 25 percent of the state workforce, our community is forced to bear more than our share of state job cuts. As your state representative, I will fight for a state policy requiring job cuts to first be considered in St. Louis, Kansas City, and Springfield - places where state employee job cuts will not devastate their local economies. I will fight to protect jobs here in Cole County.
  4. Practice What You Preach Legislation — I believe elected officials should live by the same rules they impose on others. That includes compensation. As your state representative, I will propose legislation forbidding legislators from getting increased pay or per diem in any year in which either (1) state employees do not receive a raise above the rate of inflation or (2) a substantial number of state jobs are cut.

But, I must point out, this would be a one-way relationship: The salaries of elected officials would not automatically be increased if state employee salaries are increased.

  1. I Will NEVER Vote to Increase My Own Salary — I’m running for this office to help improve our community, not to find ways to pad my wallet.

As your state representative, I promise that I will NEVER vote to increase my own salary.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Under the current Constitutional language, any lawmakers’ salary increases are proposed by the 22-member Citizens’ Salary Commission voters approved in 1994. Its proposed salary schedule goes into effect unless 2/3 of each house “disapproves” it.)

Statewide - Enact a Better Tax System

I support moving away from our current tax system that punishes work and thrift and towards a new system which rewards those activities. Specifically, I’m talking about eliminating the state income tax and replacing it in a revenue neutral manner with a combination of sales and property taxes. I don’t believe there’s anything we could do as a state that would better encourage economic growth.

We know the current incentive system isn’t working. The Ford bailout was the fourth such bailout in our state in the past ten years. The previous three attempts all failed, and this one likely will too.

We have to get away from an incentive system that has legislators picking and choosing economic winners and losers. It doesn’t work and it’s a recipe for corruption.

The fundamental conservative economic truth is that no individual is smart enough to predict the future or to dictate our economy from a centralized command point. Yet, that’s exactly what our state legislature has been trying to do for the last decade. Instead of having politicians choose which companies and industries are favored, we need to create a tax system that encourages entrepreneurs, small business owners, and large corporations to move operations to Missouri regardless of their particular field of endeavor.

The Fair Tax is the best way to do that. For example, despite similar geography and demographics, Tennessee is blowing Missouri out of the water in terms of economic growth. The simple reason: a better tax system.

http://www.showmeinstitute.org/docLib/20090806_all_caught_up.pdf

3) Many people expect the budget to be the biggest issue next session because of another shortfall between anticipated revenues and likely expenses. How would you propose to balance the state budget?

The answer to this question could result in a tome with the length and excitement of a typical graduate school thesis. I’m not going to write that thesis. Instead, I think it’s important to focus on process.

I’m interested in moving the state away from baseline budgeting and toward a different process called “Budgeting for Outcomes” that has been implemented with great success in Washington state, Iowa, and South Carolina.

The current budget process starts with the assumption that every program will be funded at essentially the same or greater level than the year before.

A “Budgeting for Outcomes” process starts from zero and first requires policy-makers to state explicit goals and values for state spending.

One explanation of the process can be found here:

http://reason.org/files/california_budget_david_osborne.pdf

http://www.ipspr.sc.edu/publication/scbudget.pdf

http://www.heartland.org/full/28044/Research_Commentary_A_Different_Way_to_Budget.html

4) To balance previous budgets, some program cuts already have been made. What areas do you think were cut too much, and would you seek to restore those cuts?

It’s going to be difficult to restore any cuts in the next budget year.

We might have to cut deeper, and everything needs to be on the table subject to analysis on effectiveness.

What areas do you think should have been cut more, and would you seek to get those additional cuts?

See above.

5) Of course, Missouri’s Constitution requires the state to provide at least 25 percent of its budget for public schools at the elementary and secondary levels. Do you think the state is meeting that obligation?

Yes. A bunch of school districts wasted millions of our hard-earned taxes to have the Supreme Court remind them that our state Constitution says what it obviously says in Article IX, Section 3(b).

What changes, if any, should be made to education funding and why?

Education funding should be attached to children and their parents, not buildings.

6) Although it has shrunk a little in recent years, many Missourians think state government is too big, with too many duties, employees and expenses. Do you agree, and how would you reshape government to improve it?

In terms of costs of state government employees, Missouri is not too big. We have the worst-paid state employees in the country, and 27th in the country in terms of state employees per capita.

I don’t believe our state employees should be paid like state employees in New York or California, but we have to move out of the cellar. In addition, I believe we should look to consolidate state government by moving more employees to mid-Missouri.

7) What do you think state government’s role really is, and how would you change current operations to achieve your views?

The role of state government is to protect the safety of its citizens through law enforcement, enforce property rights through a fair legal system, ensure a baseline level of opportunity for all citizens through education, help those who cannot help themselves, and provide services for the betterment of society that would otherwise be impossible due to collective action problems (i.e. fund roads and highways).

8) Why should voters agree with the changes you would support?

(No answer provided.)

9) What else should lawmakers do this next session?

The first bill I propose will deal with the old prison.

My second bill will be an attempt to codify a policy that when state government cuts jobs, it looks first to communities outside Jefferson City.

This won’t be a bill, but I will definitely offer an amendment to the budget bills to give state employees a raise every year. (It won’t be a bill because that’s not the proper place to make such a proposal.)

My third bill will be to put on the ballot a constitutional initiative to ban state funding for abortions.

My fourth bill will be to sign on to the Fair Tax proposal.

My fifth bill will be to make changes to adoption law and to eliminate some areas of law where it’s possible for courts to discriminate against expectant mothers.

10) What do you think people most misunderstand about this office and what it does?

State representatives are not like members of the United States Congress. We don’t have a large staffs and the legislature is only a part-time body.

The Founders of our state believed in the concept of citizen-legislator and it has served us well for 189 years. It is important for state representatives to have “real” jobs because they will better understand the impact legislation has on their constituents.

11) Why should voters pay attention to the endorsements given to any candidate?

Endorsements are short-hand for the values that a candidate will represent.

Candidates endorsed by organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Businesses, the Club for Growth, etc. are candidates likely to favor government policies that will help entrepreneurs create more jobs for our state.

12) If voters remember only one thing before they vote Nov. 2, what do you want it to be?

Our community is at a crossroads. We have both enormous potential for growth and significant challenges ahead in the next decade. We need representatives in our federal, state, and local governments that will put prosperity first.

Libertarian candidate Janine Elizabeth Steck, age 44

1) Why are you running for this office, and why do you think you’re the best qualified candidate?

No answer provided.

2) What do you think the biggest issue(s) will be if you’re elected and what solutions do you have, if any, for solving that/those issue(s)??

I think health care is a huge growing issue: Costs keep going up!

I assisted people to go to NAMI meetings before.

Again, NAMI reflects government.

A simple, replaceable employee had provoked me, and made a comment only to provoke me.

I lashed out, mentioning mental health status.

But they have a simple rule not to mention mental health status.

NAMI simply needs to grow or desist.

3) Many people expect the budget to be the biggest issue next session because of another shortfall between anticipated revenues and likely expenses. How would you propose to balance the state budget?

No answer provided.

4) To balance previous budgets, some program cuts already have been made. What areas do you think were cut too much, and would you seek to restore those cuts?

No answer provided.

What areas do you think should have been cut more, and would you seek to get those additional cuts?

No answer provided.

5) Of course, Missouri’s Constitution requires the state to provide at least 25 percent of its budget for public schools at the elementary and secondary levels. Do you think the state is meeting that obligation???

No answer provided.

What changes, if any, should be made to education funding — and why???

No answer provided.

6) Although it has shrunk a little in recent years, many Missourians think state government is too big, with too many duties, employees and expenses. Do you agree, and how would you reshape government to improve it????

Begin to privatize Services.

I do not think people know every mentally retarded, or developmentally delayed, person lives alone if high enough functioning, with the help of Cole County.

I think, if left to truly volunteer services, some one would have helped me to find a job.

Vocational Rehabilitation is entirely focused on Case Closure — they only have a degree and, if hired for very long, a master’s degree — just to put you down.

Editor's Note: No answers were provided to the following questions put to candidate Steck:

7) What do you think state government’s role really is, and how would you change current operations to achieve your views?

8) Why should voters agree with the changes you would support?

9) What else should lawmakers do this next session?

10) What do you think people most misunderstand about this office and what it does?

11) Why should voters pay attention to the endorsements given to any candidate?

12) If voters remember only one thing before they vote Nov. 2, what do you want it to be?

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