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House District 60 Republican candidates field questions

House District 60 Republican candidates field questions

July 22nd, 2018 by Joe Gamm in Local News

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Following candidate forums the News Tribune held at Jefferson City Hall, the newspaper sent additional questions, some reader-submitted that had not been asked because of time constraints.

Here are the responses from Jane Beetem, Pat Rowe Kerr and Dave Griffith, the Republican candidates for the Missouri House of Representatives District 60 seat.

Responses appear in the order the candidates 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?

Beetem: Legislators' duties do not begin and end with the legislative session. In order to stay both informed and engaged, they attend meetings both during the work day and in the evening. My schedule allows me to attend these meetings and continue community service projects. My family's schedule has always been somewhat crazy. Since our kids have grown, our calendars are more open. If necessary to free up more time for legislative duties, I plan to let go some of my previous community service projects.

Kerr: First and foremost, I want to assure everyone here that I have no intent of being a part-time legislator — I'll be your voice, full time. Those of you who know me know that I have the energy of three or four people; balancing legislative duties will not be a challenge for me.

Griffith: First and foremost, I do not see my position at a state representative as a part-time job. Representing the people of the 60th District indeed is a full-time job, and I must be in the district talking with the people who elected me and being ready to assist them with issues that they will be facing them.

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Q: From reader Jeff Holzem: If elected, what specific steps will you take to promote renewable energy in Missouri?

Beetem: There are many more types of renewable energy to consider than just solar and wind power. Funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act allowed research into energy produced from algae, landfill methane, composted manure and other options. Nuclear energy is an option to be seriously considered, as newer, smaller reactors have been developed that could provide power for specific users. If these smaller reactors could be approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, they may develop into viable alternatives to coal-powered electricity.

Kerr: It's not the government's job to promote specific segments of the private sector. This is something that should be left to the free market.

Griffith: Renewable energy resources are great alternatives and must be explored and utilized as alternatives to traditional energy sources. Collaborating with constituents and companies producing these resources will be something I would be in favor of.

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?

Beetem: Priorities for revenue received from sales tax on online purchases should consider the amount of funds generated in addition to the amount of use tax currently collected on online purchases. Once the amount to be generated has been estimated, planning for expenditures can proceed. The 2019 Executive Budget for Missouri allocated $29 million for raises for state employees. If the amount collected were equal to or greater than this amount, then I would recommend funding increases in state employee salaries with these funds. If the estimated funding is much less, then I would recommend funding for youth in foster care.

Kerr: First and foremost, I want to make one thing clear — I have no intent of supporting any tax increase, and I will not support legislation that would result in Missouri collecting sales taxes from online transactions.

Griffith: The online sales tax or use tax has been designated to be filtered through four revenue streams, General Revenue, Conservation, Education and Parks/Soil. As I understand it, cities and counties may also impose local sales taxes as well. By designating where the money is going prevents it from all going into one revenue stream. Having 1 percent going into education add additional funds for our children's educations.