Following a candidate forum the News Tribune held Wednesday at Blair Oaks Middle School in Wardsville, the newspaper sent additional questions to the candidates, some submitted by readers, that had not been asked during the forum because of time constraints.
Here are the responses from the Republican candidates for the Missouri House of Representatives District 59 seat. The district covers a portion of eastern Jefferson City, most of rural Cole County and a portion of northern Miller County.
In the order they are listed on the ballot, the GOP candidates are Karen Leydens, of Jefferson City; Rudy Veit, of Wardsville; Randy Dinwiddie, of Olean; Kendra Lane, of Jefferson City; and Rik Combs, of Lohman.
Lane did not submit a response to these questions by press time.
The winner of the Aug. 7 primary will face Democrat Linda Greeson, of Eldon, in the Nov. 6 general election. Greeson has no opponent in the primary and, therefore, has not been included in this story.
The candidates' responses are posted in the order they appear on the Aug. 7 ballot.
Answers may have been edited for length and clarity.
Q: The legislative position you are seeking is technically a part-time job. But with this campaign, you likely have seen the amount of work and time the job can demand. How do you plan to balance your legislative duties with your personal/professional responsibilities?
Leydens: I am uniquely positioned to be able to balance my personal and professional responsibilities due to the nature of my chosen profession. I have accomplished this successfully for many years.
Veit: The position of state representative is, in reality, a full-time job. Not 40 hours a week or a few months a year, but 24/7 for the entire period the position is held. Our constituents deserve that kind of dedication, and I will deliver it. In preparation for this commitment to the 59th District, I have already cut back my role in my business and will limit it substantially further when elected. I have balanced family, career and volunteer work my entire life, and I take my duty to those I represent very seriously.
Dinwiddie: I have owned my own business since 1992. I am used to long hours. I will have no problem handling the workload, as I am used to working 50-plus hours per week. Light switch on. Light switch off. Focus on task at hand 100 percent while completing a task.
Combs: The position, done properly, would prove a daunting task; however, being retired provides the perfect opportunity to provide full-time energies and attention to the people of the district, while still allowing for family time. My background in the military has taught me a tremendous amount regarding time management, and my priorities of faith and family first will abide. I will be a full-time advocate and representative for the 59th District.
Q: From reader Jeff Holzem: If elected, what specific steps will you take to promote renewable energy in Missouri?
Leydens: The people of Missouri rely on affordable energy for their homes and businesses. Next-generation energy development will require huge investments in technology and infrastructure, such as smart grids. I will work to reduce the taxes and regulations that are impeding the development of new energy sources.
Veit: I am familiar with, and have been involved with, renewable energy alternatives. There are many benefits to our state when it comes to the use of renewable energy, specifically to our agricultural community. I will work with the Farm Bureau and others to encourage growth of our agricultural market, and renewable energy can play a major role in that effort.
Dinwiddie: I have a main concern. It is working to develop our towns' economies and providing a path to success that can be continued. I would support legislation for renewable energy, but it takes a want of the people to implement that. If the people send a message as a priority, I will respond.
Combs: We must explore all options regarding energy, which include wind power, nuclear, solar, ethanol, water-driven turbines, etc. However, the taxpayers shouldn't subsidize these ventures, as the private sector should lead the way and would do a better job of implementing these methods. We must not place our current carbon-based energy sources, such as our coal-powered electric cooperatives, at a disadvantage in doing so.
Q: From readers Tricia Schlechte and Tom Sadowski: Given the recent Supreme Court decision regarding online sales taxes, what do you consider the highest priorities for any additional revenue the state might receive due to this?
Leydens: We need a strong economy that produces family-supporting jobs with good wages. I believe we should invest new revenue in areas needed for economic growth, like workforce development and repairing our aging infrastructure.
Veit: These are taxes that would have been paid here in Missouri anyway if the purchase had not been made on the internet. So this change should not be considered 'new' revenue, but more accurately, it is a reduction in lost revenue. Therefore, revenue generated from internet sales will go to general funds, just as it would if the purchase had been made physically in Missouri. The Legislature must use this and all tax revenue to balance the budget and (pay for) infrastructure, state employee wages, senior care, education, and other priority needs of our state.
Dinwiddie: Updating state buildings and equipment. Many are in disrepair and desperately need work.
Combs: The newest ruling offers the state some much needed additional revenue, and I strongly believe the additional revenue should be used to repair and maintain our current roads and bridges. Roads and bridges are the underpinning for our entire economy, and must be kept to a suitable standard to ensure a thriving economy and quality of life. We shouldn't delay the infrastructure upgrades in Missouri, as those costs would ultimately fall on our children and grandchildren.