Voters in northeastern Jackson County on Tuesday will decide which of two Republicans will challenge an incumbent state representative this fall.
Former state Rep. Brent Lasater and Bill Kidd are running in Tuesday’s Republican primary in the 20th District of the Missouri House of Representatives. The term is for two years.
Lasater is stressing the need to be accessible and to work hard to solve constituents’ problems.
“I don’t need the spotlight. I just have a feeling that I like to help people when I can,” he said.
Kidd said the issue is finding work for people.
“It’s about jobs,” he said. “We have to create jobs and revitalize the 20th District. How can we revitalize the 24 Highway corridor?”
Lasater represented the district for one term and then in 2012 narrowly lost to Democrat John Mayfield, who is seeking a second term and faces no opponent in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. The district covers much of the northeastern part of the county – from Sugar Creek to Buckner – generally the area east of Sterling Avenue and north of U.S. 24. In Independence, the district also dips south to Truman Road in the area west of McCoy Park, and, south of U.S. 24, it includes Susquehanna, Lake City and the area around Metropolitan Community College-Blue River.
Both Republicans criticized Mayfield. “I don’t think he’s done a very good job,” Lasater said. Kidd said he likes Mayfield personally but has seen no change in Jefferson City.
Financial records suggest Kidd has more resources for his campaign. His July 15 filing with the Missouri Ethics Commission showed that he had raised $12,965 for the campaign and had spent $4,228. Lasater, in a July 4 filing, showed having raised $705 and spent $560.
Kidd said his concerns about the district include the high number of empty houses and what that does to property values. He stressed taking a practical approach to issues.
“What makes business sense?” Kidd said. “Politics often bogs down into a game. I’m not into the game. What makes sense from a business perspective?”
Lasater said he’s gotten a good reaction while campaigning and people remember his time in office.
“They could call me directly, and they did, and people appreciate that,” he said.
He added that it’s important in the General Assembly to talk one on one with other legislators and work through issues.
“That makes a difference,” he said. Lasater, a truck driver, also stressed that he is not retired, despite rumors to the contrary, and said he knows there’s life after politics and he’ll keep working.
On some specific issues:
• Both candidates said they oppose expanding the state’s Medicaid program, as has been proposed and debated.
“I think expanding Medicaid is a debt bomb. ... There’s other, better ways to fix that problem,” Kidd said.
• Lasater said he opposes the statewide sales tax for transportation on Tuesday’s ballot, Amendment 7, to raise $5.4 billion over 10 years. “I say we have the money,” he said.
• Lasater said he had a sense of unfinished business in Jefferson City and pointed to such things as making sure parents of children with disabilities get access to needed services.
“I would want to still be their advocate,” he said.