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The four candidates for Missouri lieutenant governor running in the Nov. 3 general election have different views of what Missourians want and need, but all the candidates want to deliver on those demands.
Incumbent Republican Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe, of Jefferson City, faces Democrat Alissia Canady, of Kansas City; Libertarian Bill Slantz, of St. Charles; and Green Party candidate Kelley Dragoo, of Kansas City.
The lieutenant governor's constitutional duties are to preside as president of the Missouri Senate and vote in the event of a tie; preside as governor when the governor is out of the state or disabled; and become governor for the remainder of the term should the governor die, resign, or be convicted or impeached.
Kehoe was appointed by Gov. Mike Parson in June 2018 to be lieutenant governor after Parson left the role to become governor following former Gov. Eric Greitens' resignation.
Missouri law has also expanded the role of the lieutenant governor to serve on a variety of boards and commissions, including the Board of Fund Commissioners that issues, redeems and cancels state bonds; the Missouri Development Finance Board that promotes economic development; and the Missouri State Capitol Commission that recommends how to restore and preserve the Missouri State Capitol and its grounds.
The lieutenant governor also has responsibilities in advocating for senior citizens and serving on a housing development commission that appropriates money to homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, transitional housing and other housing assistance programs — especially for people with low incomes.
Kehoe said the biggest issue in the race for lieutenant governor is rebuilding the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said that fits well with his office's Buy Missouri efforts — a program to recruit and highlight businesses that make a majority of a product in-state and pay state taxes.
"We visit with companies all the time, in person or by phone, electronically, by email, just to find out how their business is and what they're going to need as they ramp back up," Kehoe said.
Kehoe also said, "I want to make sure that we don't allow some of the crazy things that you're seeing on the other side of the aisle take place in Missouri."
More specifically, he said he is against policies and programs that would expand government, raise taxes, defund police departments and be against capitalism or jobs.
In addition to the economy, Canady — an attorney and former Kansas City Council member — said addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and race relations are important issues at stake in the race.
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By race relations, she said she means dealing with racial injustices, police brutality, and disparities in criminal justice, health care and employment.
How well the economy recovers depends on how well the pandemic is managed, Canady said.
On the pandemic, she said, "the No. 1 thing is making sure we are properly informing the residents of Missouri" on numbers, risks and precautions to mitigate community spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
On race relations, Canady said it's important to have "culturally competent leadership" that can represent the interests of all Missourians, including African Americans and economically-disadvantaged people. She added, "This is not something I'm promising" but a body of work she would bring to the table with her.
She said she would use the office of lieutenant governor to be an advocate, ombudsman and policy innovator.
Slantz — chairman of the Missouri Libertarian Party — said he's running to abolish the lieutenant governorship.
If elected, he said, his first action would be to introduce legislation to abolish the office. If successful in that endeavor, he said, the savings should be given back to taxpayers — either through a refund or by lowering tax rates.
As a Libertarian, Slantz said, he would provide more liberty and freedom by removing or making more efficient government involvement — especially state government involvement — in Missourians' lives.
Dragoo — who has served as treasurer and in other roles with the Kansas City, Heart of America Chapter of the Green Party — said the big issue in the race for lieutenant governor "really boils down to a lack of accountability" of elected officials.
"I will listen to all Missourians, not just those who voted for me," Dragoo said. Accountability means listening to what people want, she said.
She cited the recent efforts by state lawmakers to amend the changes to redistricting laws voters had previously approved as an example of a lack of accountability, as well as a lack of accountability in policing.
Dragoo said the state should reassess its budget, defund the "prison-industrial complex," and direct the money to support better jobs and health care — which would happen through legislation. And as lieutenant governor, she said, she would be the liaison between the executive and legislative branches of state government.