KBIA’s Jessica Reese recently interviewed the Republican candidate for State Representative in the newly formed 44th District, Caleb Rowden. The new district includes most of Columbia’s Third Ward and northeast Boone County, including the towns of Hallsville, Centralia and Sturgeon. He is a newcomer to state politics and challenging Democratic nominee Ken Jacob in the Nov. 6th election.
In the interview, Rowden discussed how he wants to replicate small business tax incentives after Kansas’s model in order to stimulate business in the state. He also spoke about how he supports the tobacco tax increase to help fund public schools in mid Missouri as well as for universities in the area. He says passing the tax will help with job growth in the state as well.
The state 47th House District race has seen two candidates at opposite ends of the campaign finance spectrum. John Wright, the Democratic candidate, has raised more than $430,000 for his campaign, including $271,000 that he contributed from his own finances. Mitch Richards, the Republican candidate, has raised more than $28,000 for his campaign, and the House Republican Campaign Committee recently made a $47,000 ad purchase on his behalf, according to reports filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission.
A television ad the HRCC but approved by Richards makes a number of claims about Wright. How do those claims hold up?
The ad starts by saying that John Wright was an “investment banker at Goldman Sachs, one of the firms at the center of the financial collapse.” It is true that Wright worked at Goldman Sachs, but he worked for the firm for 18 months in 1998 and 1999, 10 years before the financial crisis.
The ad then states that Wright later started his own hedge fund. Wright founded Rollins Capital Management in 2008. He calls it a “diversified investment partnership.” The firm forms partnerships with companies on projects. One example would be Ascent Corp. in St. Louis. Rollins Capital and Ascent created a partnership to convert an old broom and mop factory in Chicago into a high-speed data center. Although Wright said the term “hedge fund” is a broad term, “it’s not false to call it a hedge fund.”
The ad also asserts that Wright favors “bigger sales taxes,” higher gas taxes and “Obamacare,” which the ad labels “the biggest tax of them all.” Wright does support Proposition B, which would increase taxes on tobacco products, and the Affordable Care Act. Wright said he would consider a higher fuel tax in Missouri as a way of paying bonds that could finance reconstruction of Interstate 70, but he wouldn’t want Missouri’s fuel tax to exceed those in neighboring Illinois and Kansas.
We weren’t asking about candidates, campaigns or talking points; we wanted to know what issues people in these rural areas really cared about, and how politics directly affects their lives. Of course, we didn’t just ask one question. We ended up having in-depth and insightful conversations with people who thought they were just coming in for their morning’s cup of coffee. We want to share those conversations with you through this project.
Look for more of these multimedia pieces before election day. In this installment, KBIA visited Broadway Diner in Columbia.
At this country store and café along Highway 63, local farmers, retired professors, blue-collar workers and families gather for breakfast every morning. What’s on the table at Heuer’s? Concerns about agriculture, prices, healthcare and an over-riding feeling that politicians are out of touch, with no idea “what real down-to-earth people go through every day.” But, the disillusionment with politicians isn’t enough to keep these diners away from the voting booth. Many of the diners say they’re concerned about maintaining the good life, and that will be reflected in their votes. “People don’t expect to be extremely wealthy,” says one diner, “but they expect to have a decent standard of life.”
The Columbia Missourian’s Public Life team has spent the past several months doing some of the most comprehensive election coverage you’ll find in Mid-Missouri, reporting on everything from the presidential race to the contest for Boone County public administrator. It’s been an overwhelming campaign season.
As Election Day approaches, lots of voters might feel a need to play catch-up on some of the candidates and issues on the ballot. The Missourian can help with that. Sunday’s print Missourian will include a four-page spread summarizing the stances of local candidates on legislative and county government issues, as well as explanations of amendments and propositions that appear on the ballot.
We’ve also compiled all the Missourian’s coverage of the election, dating back to well before the August primary, in our online voters guide. It includes issue stories, profiles and biographical backgrounds of the candidates, and feature stories about the new Missouri House districts. You can spend a few minutes or a few hours with the content. You decide. Either way, we hope you’ll find the information you need to cast an informed vote on Tuesday.
When a campaign advertisement comes on your television or before you watch a YouTube clip, how do you react? Do you zone out or sit up and pay attention? Are you annoyed or motivated after watching them? We want to hear your reaction.
If you still need to get up to speed on statewide and local races, please check out the Columbia Missourian’s Voters Guide 2012, which is included with a digital membership and details information regarding candidates and issues on the ballot for the general election on Nov. 6.