Quick 5 questions for Missouri 56th District candidates
Three-term incumbent Brian Yates, R-Lee’s Summit, and Chris Ruggles, D-Lee’s Summit, will compete for a seat Nov. 4 in the 56th District in the Missouri House of Representatives.
The 56th District includes the southeastern corner of Jackson County, including Lone Jack and Lake Lotawana. It also includes northern Lee’s Summit, the area of Lee’s Summit generally east of Todd George Road and both sides of Interstate 470 between Independence and Lee’s Summit, including much of Lakewood. In the rapidly growing part of south Blue Springs, the district includes the area generally south of Wyatt Road.
1 Why do you want to be a state representative? Yates: I want to continue the fight against tax increases, special interests, and for fiscal responsibility. I would continue working towards bringing high-quality jobs to the area and seek more opportunities to bring down property taxes.
Ruggles: When I returned home from the Navy, I was disappointed to see lost jobs, rising health care costs and people struggling to pay their mortgages, so I decided to continue my public service.
2 If elected, what would you make your legislative priorities?
Yates: I would fight for targeted tax cuts to help spur economic growth, offer tax incentives and job retraining for employers. I would seek additional education funding for our schools and oppose open enrollment.
Ruggles: My priorities would be to restore affordable health care, to properly fund education and to pursue economic development for the metro area.
3 What would you say are some of your (or your opponent’s) accomplishments in the six years you’ve been a state representative?
Yates: As chairman of the House Insurance Committee, I sponsored and passed significant medical malpractice insurance reform legislation that helped stabilize the medical malpractice insurance rates to help keep doctors in the state of Missouri.
Ruggles: My opponent’s biggest accomplishment to date has been to kick 150,000 children off health care.
4 Why do you feel like you are a better choice than your opponent?
Yates: I am a better choice because I have the character and experience necessary in these uncertain economic times to work across the aisle, balance the budget without raising taxes and fight against special interests.
Ruggles: My life experience has given me a unique perspective on issues such as health care, education and assisting our disabled veterans.
5 If elected, what are some ways you plan to address economic problems facing the state?
Yates: We need to hold the line on taxes and look at targeted tax reductions to spur economic growth. I will also support efforts to do more for higher education to retrain Missouri's manufacturing workforce.
Ruggles: Making Missouri a leader in good-paying green jobs, working to lower health care costs and working to improve transportation.
– Hugh Welsh