Education and jobs. Both candidates for the Missouri House of Representatives 29th District seat count these among their top priorities and reasons in running for public office.
Education and jobs.
Both candidates for the Missouri House of Representatives 29th District seat count these among their top priorities and reasons in running for public office.
Republican incumbent Noel Torpey is facing Democrat John Sutton in the Nov. 6 election. District 29, a new district for Torpey, runs roughly from 23rd Street in central Independence south into parts of Kansas City.
Torpey, an Independence resident for 20 years, was first elected to the House 2010. He is a former school social worker who now owns a small business, Torpey Brothers Lawn & Landscaping.
Torpey’s wife, Julie, is a teacher in the Independence School District. The couple has two boys – Hayden, 11, and Dawson, 9.
His endorsements are from both Republicans and Democrats, including National Federation of Independent Business; AFL-CIO; Missouri School Administrators Political Action Committee; United Auto Workers; KC BizPAC, the Political Action Committee of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce; Service Employees International Union; the Missouri State Council of Fire Fighters; Local 781 Independence Firefighters; the Heavy Constructors Association; Local 42 Kansas City Firefighters; and others.
“My top priorities haven’t changed as economy and education,” Torpey said. “I think they are one and the same. Without a strong education, it’s difficult to have a strong economy.”
One of Torpey’s frustrations, he said, is that when schools lose accreditation, students can attend any of the surrounding accredited school districts.
“I think everyone loses in that scenario,” Torpey said. “Hopefully, we will get that changed this January.”
Torpey’s opponent, Van Horn High School science teacher John Sutton, received an endorsement from the Missouri State Teachers Association. Sutton has lived in Jackson County since 1989, and he and his wife, Peggy, have three children and two grandchildren.
“I’d like to redo education completely and entirely throughout the state,” said Sutton, adding that he would like to see all high school students graduate with an associate’s degree. He believes teaching students trade school and vocational trades in addition to the traditional curriculum of English and math would lead to increased graduation rates.
“It would be a very cheap, easy to implement policy because most of us teachers already have master’s degrees and have taught some college classes,” Sutton said. “Whether they’re auto mechanics or hair stylists, it doesn’t matter.”
This is Sutton’s first time running for public office. He also was elected as director for the Missouri Chess Association’s Kansas City region.
Job creation also is a priority for Sutton, adding that he will actively pursue companies to come into Missouri.
“We’re going to have to do something with Kansas,” Sutton said, “because I’m tired of jobs moving back and forth with the tax breaks.”