Candidates Weigh In at Political Forum
By Kathy Feist
Six candidates running for state office this year attended a forum hosted by the South Kansas City Chamber of Commerce on June 16 at the St. Joseph Hospital Community Center, 1000 Cardondelet Dr. Those present were Missouri Senator for District 9 Kiki Curls, Missouri House of Representatives Joe Runions (Dist. 37), DaRon McGee (Dist. 36), Greg Razer (Dist. 25), Bonnaye Mims (Dist. 27) and her challenger Richard Brown. All present were Democrats.
Two candidates are new. Greg Razer, who is running unopposed, announced on behalf of the Orlando shooting victims, that he would be the first openly gay (LGBT) official in Jefferson City. (See story.) His district runs from the Plaza to I-435, including part of St. Joseph Hospital. He was a regional director for U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill.
Richard Brown, a former teacher and Kansas City MO Public School board member, is running against Mims. His interests are education and the underinsured, saying that there are still 191,000 uninsured in Missouri. His opponent named her primary concerns as mental health issues. The 27th district includes Swope Park, the Cerner development, Oakwood Golf Course and a small jut toward 99th and Wornall.
The candidates agreed on the majority of issues presented by forum administrator Madeline Romious. All believed in the expansion of Medicaid and were disappointed that it failed to pass, which most agreed will continue to be the case as long as Democrats are in the minority in Jefferson City.
All were in favor of tax increment financing (TIFs). However McGee cautioned that they should be used for blighted areas and not for areas such as The Plaza. Runion suggested libraries and schools not be included in TIFs.
All agreed on a gradual increase in the minimum wage, with Mims suggesting it be based on cost of living.
The state primaries will be held Tuesday, August 2.