Discussing views Candidates for Missouri, U.S. Senate take part in local forum

Wednesday, July 25, 2012
State Senate candidate Dave Morris of Peculiar, left, addresses about 75 people during a Tuesday night political forum in the Nevada High School Auditorium. Awaiting their turns are fellow Republicans Ed Emery of Lamar, right, and Scott Largent of Clinton. The event, hosted by the Nevada/Vernon County Chamber of Commerce, was moderated by Lynn Wade of the Nevada Daily Mail and Russ Warren of KNEM/KNMO Radio. A similar forum, featuring candidates for U.S. Congress and for the Missouri House of Representatives, is slated for 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 31, at the same location.

By James R. Campbell

Nevada Daily Mail

Missouri State Senate candidates Ed Emery of Lamar, Dave Morris of Peculiar and Scott Largent of Clinton made their cases for the Republican nomination in the Aug. 7 primary Tuesday night as each man contended he would best accomplish the aspirations of the 31st Senate District.

Addressing an estimated 75 people during the Nevada-Vernon County Chamber of Commerce forum in the Nevada High School auditorium, the candidates took two minutes each answering questions about the economy, education and other concerns, then got three minutes to sum up prior to an intended U.S. Senate forum that only motivated one candidate, Hector Maldonado of Sullivan, to attend.

Maldonado, a naturalized citizen born at Durango, Mexico, said he volunteered for the Army, became an officer and did tours in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan "to fight for the American Constitution and the American way of life."

A 5:30 p.m. July 31 forum will be held at NHS for state representative and congressional candidates.

Quizzed by Daily Mail Editor Lynn A. Wade and KNEM-KNMO newsman Russ Warren, Emery began with his answer to a question about Obamacare by saying its expansion of Medicaid "would bankrupt the state in a matter of years."

Morris agreed that the "cost is unbelievable," while Largent said the healthcare reform would add $2 billion a year to Missouri's annual $24 billion budget.

Emery, a former state representative, said his top issues --if he wins the primary and defeats Drexel Democrat Charlie Burton, Nov. 6 -- will include protecting the state from the federal government's constitutional encroachments and reforming public school education to give local districts, teachers and parents more control.

Emery would also seek to promote the economy by eliminating the state income tax and making Missouri a right-to-work state.

Morris said he would oppose Obamacare and back right to work because Missouri is losing out to surrounding states that do not require union membership to get jobs. "People would move into our area to take advantage of it," he said.

Largent said while enhancing liberty and freedom is important, "Jobs have got to be the No. 1 issue."

Touting endorsements by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Federation of Independent Business, the 120th District state representative said legislators "need to make sure our children prepare for the future, either with higher education or vocationally."

All three men stated their support for early childhood education and opposition to regulating home school education more stringently and making Missourians buy insurance to cover damages by uninsured drivers.

Emery is opposed to increasing the state tobacco tax, now at 17 cents a package and the lowest such tax in the nation, to $1 in a Nov. 6 petition initiative.

"Sin taxes move people and businesses but don't help the revenue stream," he said.

Morris responded by saying, "No new taxes. It would not help the economy."

Largent said the plan typifies government's insatiable desire for more tax money. "The government will take every dime and waste it every single time," he said.

In closing remarks, Emery became emotional, saying, "Every election is about liberty.

"If it's not about liberty, we're only negotiating the terms of our surrender."

Morris said he often hears voters express dissatisfaction with government and that he has no aspiration to run for higher office. "I want to see a change made in Jefferson City," he said.

Largent said he is motivated to work on economic development in part because his children "do not have the same chance I had to succeed.

"I'm as conservative as you can get, but we shouldn't be like Washington," he said.

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