By Tyler Schneider
Democrat Greg Razer, 42, is looking to make the move to the upper chamber of the Missouri General Assembly after serving as the House District 25 Representative since 2016.
During Razer’s four years in the House, he served on the Joint Committee on Transportation Oversight and Transportation Committee, establishing a solid background on transportations and infrastructure. Missouri ranks eighth among all U.S. states with the worst-road conditions.
An increased fuel tax could help cover those costs, he says, a lot of factors could lead to increased funding for any area where Missouri is demonstrably lacking — education and infrastructure, for example.
If he wins on November 3, he will become just the second openly LGBT representative ever to serve in the Missouri Senate. On the topic of the status of LGBT equality in Missouri, Razer connects the issue with the goal of stimulating the economy.
“If we want the next generation of businesses, if we want big tech businesses, to come to Missouri, we can’t be a state that openly discriminates against LGBT people. Those companies want to hire the best and brightest. Often, the best and the brightest are LGBT folks,” Razer said.
Razer is thankful for the progress that has already taken place as well, however .
“You’ll be travelling through the state, and you’ll stop off in perhaps one of the rural pockets not too far outside the cities. You’ll talk to white men over 65 who just had their kid come out, their grandchild come out,” Razer said. “And, they’re at a point in their life where, they’ll say, ‘I’ve lived my whole life being taught and thinking that LGBT people are terrible and wrong. And I was the one who was wrong’.”
While progress in equality, opportunity, education, access to health care, among other things, are always a goal, Razer again stresses cooperation and compromise between parties when it comes time to discuss how the state should approach things like, say, a statewide mask mandate.
“For even the most progressive of us in St. Louis and Kansas City, we also have to remember that we’re not Massachusetts, we’re not California. There has to be nuance — it has to be allowed and encouraged when we’re working across the aisle,” Razer said.
Green Party Nathan Kline, 52, didn’t pull any punches when he was out representing the Missouri Green Party at various public candidate forums this fall.
“Neither party is going to think outside the box,” Kline said. “As a third party candidate, the people aren’t sending me to go there and get along. I’m there to fight for the voice of the non-voters and the Independents who are left out of the process.”
His campaign messages place the blame for the rampant gerrymandering of legislative districts as the fault of a ‘corporatized two-party system’, which he says encourages the state’s Republicans and Democrats alike to maintain the status quo that allows such corruption to continue unless — you guessed it — elect a third party candidate to the state senate to “shake things up” in Jefferson City.
Kline stands firmly behind the Green Party’s core values as he cites climate change, corruption and income/power imbalances as his top three most important public policy concerns. He is also urging supporters to vote no on Amendment 3 (‘Clean Missouri’), in strong opposition to the very partisan redistricting that would be further encouraged if the amendment is passed.
“It’s time we offered the majority of Americans what they really want — for their government to invest in Americans again,” Kline said, listing universal healthcare and a desire to vastly redistribute wealth from the top echelons down towards the working class.
“The Green Party is not for sale. If I am elected, I would never take money from wealthy campaign donors. I would be there for the rest of us,” he adds.
If Kline were to be elected, he believes he would be in a unique position from which he could serve as a whistleblower of sorts — a check on the tight grip of what he describes as, “a status quo that continues to benefit the wealthiest to the detriment of the majority of us that are left fighting for scraps.”
Kline has never before held public office, but he does have over twenty years of experience in the hospitality management industry and, as of 2013, he has been working as the Director’s Executive Assistant with the City Planning and Development Department of the City of Kansas City, Missouri.