Right To Work Law Not High on List for Mo. Chamber or Mo. GOP
December 16, 2012

ST. Joesph News Press via Johncombest:
Whether Missouri can achieve similar success like the state of Michigan did last week for right to work is under scrutiny by lawmakers, business organizations and labor leaders. The St. Joseph Metro Chamber, for one, does not believe that right to work should take precedence over other legislative matters that should be considered as more pressing needs.
“The chamber has taken the position that this is not a critical issue for the state,” said Steve Hamilton, the organization’s interim president and chief executive officer.
Mr. Hamilton called education funding a more important goal to pursue, and said the chamber’s relationships with the area’s unions are good.
“It doesn’t come up very often in our discussions,” he added of right to work.
Missouri Chamber of Commerce President and Chief Executive Officer Dan Mehan admitted promoting right to work in the state wouldn’t be an easy proposition. But he said Michigan’s situation sends a message of encouragement to the law’s Missouri supporters.
“For those states that have similar economies, I think the stakes got higher,” Mr. Mehan said.
He referred to right to work states bordering Missouri as another impetus for change. Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Tennessee all have the law on their books, while Illinois and Kentucky do not. Mr. Mehan said corporate site selectors regard right to work as an advantage when researching prospects for locations. Right to work is a primary driver of economic development, he added.
He acknowledged the challenge of getting legislation past an obvious veto from Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, who has voiced his opposition.
“I’m sure you’re going to see (more) legislation filed,” Mr. Mehan said.
State Sen. Brad Lager, R-Savannah, and his Senate Republican colleagues met privately Thursday to do some advance planning for the 2013 legislative session — with right to work on the agenda.
“Everyone acknowledges the fact that right-to-work states have economically grown faster than non-right-to-work states,” Mr. Lager told the News-Press.

More: http://www.newspressnow.com/news/local_news/article_bb71ceb8-4ff1-5b3a-8b78-a02672a8d091.html

Five Take Aways from Tuesday Primary
August 8, 2012

You can’t beat home cooking:
Todd Akin rolled up an 18 point victory in St. Charles County Tuesday night. He won easily in another Republican stronghold, St Louis County. He also cruised in Greene County (Springfield).
Voters in the collar counties around St. Louis are familiar with Akin. He’s been a Congressman there for 12 years. Voters knew who he was, and what he stood for.
His Congressional career started in the same fashion. He squeezed through a tough multi-candidate primary in 2000 to win the Mo-2 seat he holds now.
In an uncertain hard punching primary, voters sought some comfort food. Akin still has to campaign hard in the rest of the state. He’ll have the resources to do that.

–On the flip side, Missouri voters don’t care for new dishes
Businessman John Brunner came out of nowhere. Very few Missouri Republicans had heard of the man until he started spending heavily to build up his name recognition. In his defense, he had to.
But Brunner’s punched away at rival Sarah Steelman much of the summer. He tagged Akin, too but not as much.
When voters have a couple of candidates throwing lots of haymakers, (Brunner and Steelman) they assume they are both flawed. They opt for another choice. It happens a lot in campaigns.
And for Brunner—an $8 million dollar tour of the back roads of Missouri didn’t pay off. Ouch.

–McCaskill catches a break.
For the first time all election cycle it seems, Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill got a break. She got the fall opponent she wants. She even advertised on his behalf. Her TV commercial announcing Akin as “too conservative for Missouri”, may have had en impact. A late, tough commercial against Brunner by the Democratic Senate PAC, Majority PAC, didn’t hurt either.
McCaskill’s campaign believes she can run effectively against the conservative Republican Senate nominee. The problem is she walks into the fall race the underdog. While McCaskill was telling everybody Tuesday night she likes that role, she’d take the favorite position in a heartbeat.
Another break is that Akin has to re-load his campaign treasury. McCaskill has money in the bank. That is offset, however, by the fact that outside spending (Cross Roads, US Chamber of Commerce)in the Missouri Senate race will not let up.
She still on the endangered species list.

–More comfort food.
Peter Kinder survives because voters are familiar with him (See ‘Home Cooking)
Kinder has had a sustained presence in the St. Louis areas for years. Most of it positive coverage. Despite the Penthouse Pet stories in the Riverfront Times and his forced reimbursement of travel expenses—first reported in the Post Dispatch—that knocked him out of the Governor’s race.
He prevailed because the electorate in the GOP target-rich environment of the St. Louis suburbs pulled him through. Opponent Brad Lager, from northwest Missouri, had to start his St. Louis campaign nearly from scratch. Lager does get props for immediately announcing his “full support” for Kinder in the fall.

-Ks Conservatives Clean Their Plate:
In 2010, Kansas Republicans were delighted they won back the Executive branch. Last night, Governor Sam Brownback led a conservative charge through his own ranks. Eight moderate Republican State Senators were taken out in a brutal in-party purge. Other open seats, held by moderates who retired, also flipped.
Brownback’s low-tax, small government agenda is now in the fast lane.
The Kansas Chamber of Commerce has even more clout that before since it launched the campaign against the GOP moderates.

Kinder Wins Tough Primary, Faces Monter in Nobember Final
August 8, 2012

Republican Lt. Governor Peter Kinder held off an intense challenge to win denomination for a rare third term as Missouri’s Lt. Governor. He defeated St. sen Brad Lager in a bruising campaign.
In a statement Kinder says he was honored by the nomination. He added he looks forward to uniting the party’s the Missouri GOP has success in November.
Kinder will face former State Auditor Susan Montee who won the Democratic nomination over Judy Baker and Sarah Lampe.
Kinder and Lager hurled political hand grenades at each other for most of the summer.
Kinder had to turn back bad publicity generated by a relationship with a former Penthouse Pet. He was also forced to repay the state $54,000 in expense charges he put on his state expense account. Some of the money went for five star hotel rooms ( he paid the reduced government rate).
Kinder also billed the state for trips that were more political in nature, rather than official business.
The bad publicity forced Kinder to drop an expected bid to run for Governir this year.
The two term Lt Governor fired back at Lager.
He raised questions about Lager’s businesses, and his political campaign fundraising. Lager got most of his money from a few wealthy Missouri families or businesses.
Lager, in his concession statement, says he now fully support Kinder’s bid for third term.
Compared to the GOP campaign, the three way Democratic primary was tame. Montee had a well established political organization.
She was the State Auditor for four years. Montee was swept out of office in the 2010 Republican wave. She was defeated by Tom Schweich.
She then was the leader of the Missouri Democratic Party for a while after that.
Lamp was that rate breed, a Democrat from Springfield. Baker represented Columbia and Mid-Missouri in the General Assembly.

Republicans Rip High Court’s Tort Reform Opinion
July 31, 2012

The Missouri Supreme Court decision striking down the lawsuit limits in the state’s tort reform law is being blasted.
Both Republican candidates for Lt. Gov. ripped into the decision by the state’s highest court (see previous post).
In an official statement, Lt. Governor Peter Kinder called the ruling, “outrageous”.
He says he’ll work with lawmakers during the September veto session to restore the limits.
“Removing the malpractice caps will only pad the pockets of trial lawyers while driving talented doctors out of the state and creating a climate in which it is more difficult to recruit new physicians and surgeons to Missouri,” Kinder said in a statement.
His rival, State Senator Brad Lager, issued a news release, too.
“At a time when our state is 49th in job creation, the last thing we need is more frivolous lawsuits that hurt job creators, deter entrepreneurs from taking on new ventures and detract businesses from expanding or relocating here.”
Republican US Senate candidate Sarah Steelman said, “As a state senator I supported and sponsored legislation that included caps on non-economic damage awards in order to cut down on frivolous lawsuits in Missouri. Businesses and consumers need relief from those who seek to game the legal system for their own personal gain.”

Kinder Pays Back Taxes
July 23, 2012

(AP) – Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder’s campaign says he will pay a penalty for missing a tax bill on property he owns in Cape Girardeau.

Property tax records show Kinder owes $192 of taxes plus $42 of penalties and interest for the 2011 tax year. Campaign manager Logan Thompson said Kinder had been unaware of the bill but would pay it Monday.

Thompson said Kinder owns three properties in Cape Girardeau – his home, a former residence that he now rents out, and a plot that has not been developed. He said Kinder never saw the tax bill for the vacant land because it had been sent to the address that he rents to others.

Kinder is in a hotly contested Republican primary with state Sen. Brad Lager, of Savannah.