Some Independence voters will have choices to make for the Missouri General Assembly on Tuesday, and for many the choices have already been made as three candidates are unopposed.

Some Independence voters will have choices to make for the Missouri General Assembly on Tuesday, and for many the choices have already been made as three candidates are unopposed.

Democrat Paul LeVota of Independence has served well for three terms and has earned one more before term limits end his days in the House. He has risen to the position of minority leader in the House, and he’s been vocal on such issues as the state’s poorly managed health-care cuts in 2005. He’s running against Republican Gary Hisch of Independence.

The 52nd District has a little of everything: south Independence between Noland Road and Missouri 291 and then to the south, picking the western edge of Lakewood and a good portion of Raytown and dipping all the way to Unity Village.

The 53rd District includes much of northeast Independence as well as Buckner, Sibley, Levasy and unincorporated parts of the county. We’re not offering an endorsement in this race. While Republican challenger Brent Lasater hasn’t made a compelling case for change, three-term incumbent Curt Dougherty, a Democrat, has failed to consistently emphasize the right priorities. The state’s No. 1 job, under our Constitution, is looking for public education. Instead, Dougherty has focused on things like naming an official state beer. The voters should expect better.

Alone on the ballot

Three local Democrats are unopposed on Tuesday.

One is Sen. Victor Callahan, a Democrat from Independence. He could run on one issue alone: his pivotal role in opening the legislative door to the western Independence schools transfer that took place this year. It’s the best thing to happen for the long-term benefit of this community in many years. Callahan also is a close student of politics, and he’s shown an ability to get some things done even when his party is in the minority, even in the often bitter, partisan atmosphere in Jefferson City.

Callahan represents the 11th District, which includes Sugar Creek, Raytown, slices of Kansas City and substantially all of Independence except a part east of the Little Blue River between I-70 downstream to just past Truman Road.

Rep. Ray Salva, a Sugar Creek Democrat who has helped lead the charge against Propostion A – the gambling issue – is running for a fourth term. His district, the 51st, includes Sugar Creek and most of Independence north of 23rd Street and west of M-291.

And there’s a newcomer. Tom McDonald of Independence won the Democratic primary in August and is unopposed on Tuesday. We hope he’ll be more visibly active in the district than his predecessor, Democrat Terry Young of Raytown. The 49th District covers much of central and southwest Independence, basically the area south of 23rd Street and west of Noland, but also an area west of the Square. It also includes a sliver of Kansas City and much of Raytown.