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Riddle ready for Missouri Senate bid

Riddle ready for Missouri Senate bid

November 15th, 2013 by Brittany Ruess, for the News Tribune in News

State Rep. Jeanie Riddle, R-Mokane, officially announced Thursday her intentions to run for Missouri State Senate District 10.

She is currently a House representative of Missouri's 49th district, which includes Fulton and north Jefferson City, and has served that area for two-and-a-half years. Senate District 10 includes Callaway, Monroe, Audrain, Montgomery, Warren and Lincoln counties. Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City, is currently the senator for district 10.

Riddle's run for the Senate spot is no surprise, though, with her thoughts post the 2012 political redistricting.

"I announced early on if the lines held I would run for Senate District 10, if not I would run for the House again," Riddle said. "They didn't hold. They changed them up so that put me being able to run in 2014."

Sen. Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, held the senate seat for the 6th District - which included Callaway County in the district's northeast corner. When redistricting was finalized in 2012, Kehoe's district ended at the Missouri River, so Callaway County was not included. Justus had been serving the 10th District that included Jackson County. With no incumbent in the new 10th District that now includes Callaway and counties to the north and east - but not Jackson County on the western edge of the state - Justus was appointed to represent the new 10th District despite residing outside the boundaries. Justus is term-limited at the end of 2014.

Riddle said a statewide conversation is being centered on job growth, which is "great for Mid-Missouri because we have an extra voice in the Capitol."

"There's a lot of similarities in the counties. There's a lot of small business. There's a lot of agriculture," she said. "It gives another voice for rural Missouri in the Senate."

Replacing the Fulton State Hospital is a high priority for her.

"It's a very dangerous place to work," Riddle said. "Mental health practices have changed dramatical-ly, so we need to be able to have a safe environment where people can have the opportunity to improve."

The lawmaker said another main issue she's focusing on is infrastructure for transportation and energy.

"We have aging infrastructure all over, and how are we going to address that whether it's improvement or replacement," she said.

Riddle anticipates two major issues: House Bill 253 (more commonly known as the tax cut bill) and Common Core - carrying over from the 2013 legislative term into 2014.

"As (House) Rules Chairman everything goes through me, so I read everything but by the time it gets to the floor again for a vote it changes drastically," Riddle said. "Who knows what we'll ultimately end up with? It will be something I will be interested in definitely."

In terms of education, Riddle said she is "curious" to see how Gov. Jay Nixon will fully fund the foundation formula and sees that topic coming up in the future.

Riddle said she's started the campaign process with fundraising and "putting a lot of miles" on her car. Accessibility is still important to Riddle, she said, despite the possibility of covering a much larger area.

Filing opens Feb. 25 and closes March 25 for the Aug. 5, 2014, primary election, according to the Missouri Secretary of State's website. The general election will be Nov. 4.