In just over a month, Missouri voters will decide which primary election candidates will go on to the Nov. 6 general election.
Five Republicans are seeking to succeed state Rep. Mike Bernskoetter in the 59th House District, which covers a large portion of Cole County outside of Jefferson City, a small portion of eastern Jefferson City and a section of northern Miller County.
Bernskoetter, R-Jefferson City, began serving the district in 2011 but is term limited and can't run again for the House.
He is seeking the 6th District state Senate seat that had been held by Mike Kehoe until Gov. Mike Parson named him to be Missouri's new lieutenant governor.
The winner of the GOP primary for the 59th House seat will face Democrat Linda Ellen Greeson, of Eldon, in November.
Greeson has no opposition in the Democratic Primary — so she is not included in this story.
In the order their names are listed on the Aug. 7 ballot, the five GOP candidates are Karen Leydens, of Jefferson City; Rudy L. Veit, of Wardsville; Kendra Lane, of Jefferson City; Randy Dinwiddie, of Olean; and Rik Combs, of Lohman.
Four of the five answered a series of questions for a story that was published in the June 24 News Tribune, and Dinwiddie's responses to those questions were published July 1.
For this article, all five were asked to be more specific on several questions. Some of their answers have been edited for length and clarity.
Lane did not submit her answers in time to be included in this story.
If elected to the state House, what would be your primary responsibility to your constituents?
Leydens: "The protection of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness would be my primary responsibility."
Veit: "My primary responsibility will be to my constituents. When legislation is proposed that will affect specific constituents, not only will my door be open to them, but I will actively seek their input.
"I believe legislators cannot know everything about every issue, and I will rely on the experts in my district to share what they know, to make sure legislation does not do more harm than good.
"I know that I will not be able to please all of the people all of the time, but I will work hard to ensure the best interests of the 59th District are always represented."
Dinwiddie: "The primary responsibility as state representative is to be a leader and bring solutions to (the) constituents. Our state is at rock bottom economically and our Capitol has serious problems.
"Most of all it is time to start electing people that have some sort of leadership and troubleshooting skills.
"A state representative is a serious position. We owe it to our voters to bring them the results they need to be more successful — have a plan, negotiate and network with others to implement it, then execute the plan flawlessly."
Combs: "My primary responsibility is to represent their interests, and the interests of the residents of Missouri, to the best of my ability.
"The primary responsibility of government is to protect and preserve the rights of citizens.
"I have a decades-long track record prior to, during, and post-military of defending rights and freedoms while fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves.
"I will work tirelessly to ensure the rights of the district's residents are preserved and protected at every opportunity."
What do you think are the two biggest issues the state currently is facing, and how would you propose to solve those problems and pay for the solutions?
Leydens: "The two biggest issues are life and health care.
"We must respect all life, from the time of conception to the natural end of life. Until Roe v. Wade is overturned this must be paramount in our minds and hearts. Without life, laws are simply not required.
"Health care entails much more than just having insurance. It includes opening up our minds and hearts to where health care begins.
"Though we honor the medical and scientific advancements, we must open the area of health care to provide for the natural ways. Everybody is different and must be honored to make their own health care choices.
"Preventive care needs to be incorporated into more health care plans to save money. There also needs to be much more education in the field of natural medicine.
"With these proposals there would be no need to raise taxes."
Veit: "Fiscal responsibility — It is our responsibility to maintain a balanced budget and not pass our debt to our children.
"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 (and) 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.
"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 burdens on Missouri taxpayers.
"(Second), 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 (that) is critical in all areas of our economy (because) 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 health care, 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."
Dinwiddie: "1. Economic development. Reward people and business for independent responsibility by cutting red tape, so people can be more successful, (and require) less regulation on things that provide a paycheck."
"2. Entitlement abuse, welfare, etc. Reward people who will leave welfare behind. Provide training to get them the help they need to keep working, and be able to support themselves and their loved ones."
Combs: "The two biggest issues facing Missouri include the degradation of our infrastructure, specifically current roads and bridges, and the stagnant economic growth of the state.
"Should the voters not approve a gasoline tax increase, I would support a vehicle registration fee, which can only be used on existing roads and bridges. This will prevent the intended funds from being diverted to other projects.
"Missouri is currently 48th in the nation for economic growth. Phasing out income taxes, the personal property tax and corporate taxes will spur businesses and families to relocate into Missouri, while providing an incentive for our elderly residents to remain in Missouri.
"Also, these measures will greatly aid our small business climate. If the population rises, so will the revenue base through increased sales taxes and spending."