• Small business is key issue in congressional race

  • Incumbent Congressman Sam Graves, R-Tarkio, and his 6th District opponents, Democrat Kyle Yarber and Libertarian Russ Monchil, all believe small business is one of the key issues in Tuesday’s election.

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  • Incumbent Congressman Sam Graves, R-Tarkio, and his 6th District opponents, Democrat Kyle Yarber and Libertarian Russ Monchil, all believe small business is one of the key issues in Tuesday’s election.
    But they disagree on how it should be handled and developed.
    Yarber says that Graves, as Chairman of the House Committee on Small Business, has not done enough to help small business grow in the 6th District. Graves says small businesses have been handcuffed by the Obama administration and liberal spending Democrats are not the answer.
    “I’m not seeing the opportunity,” said Yarber, a high school teacher from Gladstone. “As a teacher I’m concerned with what’s happening with young people. And as I go to all these small towns in the district, I’m seeing what was once thriving centers of the towns all boarded up, and then seeing a big box store on the edge of town. It’s not helping the economy when you lose locally owned businesses and family farms.”
    And Yarber says Graves is partly to blame for that.
    “A very good example of how not to do it is by our own representative,” Yarber said. “Take the stimulus money that was available. It predominantly went to large corporations, but we need to open up that kind of lending to start small businesses. We need to focus on helping locally owned businesses with guaranteed type loans like they have for students and farmers. Why can’t we do that to help locally owned businesses get started?”
    Graves said spending government money is not the answer.
    “I didn’t vote for that stimulus and I haven’t voted for any kind of government program like that,” Graves said. “I’m sick and tired of the government handing out money and not helping anyone. If he thinks we can spend ourselves into prosperity, then that’s very naive.”
    Graves said he has seen firsthand as the Small Business Committee chair how government gets in the way.
    “It’s real simple. Seven out of 10 jobs are created by small business,” Graves said. “And when I ask them what they can do to expand or add jobs, without exception, they all say they’re going to sit on their reserves because of the regulatory environment from this administration. The looming tax increases and rising health care costs are not helping small businesses move forward. That’s why I always say the government has to get out of the way for (them) to move forward. … If we keep taxing the job creators, there won’t be any job creators.”
    Monchil, who did not respond to requests to fill out a questionnaire or an interview, agrees that less regulation is needed across the board, especially with the economy.
    Page 2 of 2 - “We must have lower taxes and less regulation on business to stimulate growth and jobs in our country,” Monchil, a committeeman in Mirabile Township, wrote on his campaign wesbite. “I believe the 16th Amendment needs to be repealed. This would finally put the IRS out of business.You should keep the fruits of your labor. The government must cut spending every year across the board by 5 percent or more.”
    Yarber said that Graves has fallen out of touch with his district after 12 years in office and said that is what prompted him to run for the office in the district that has now expanded to include the northern third of Missouri, including a teardrop section of Eastern Jackson County.
    “I never thought I would be running for political office, but I think we need a different kind of person representing us,” Yarber said. “Just look at where most of (Graves’) money comes from – 76 percent comes from PACs and another big chunk comes from people outside the district. If most of your money is coming from outside of your district, is he really representing the district?”
    Graves said that the money is coming from organizations that, while they may not be based in the district, help the people in the 6th District.
    “I get support from all across the district, and the organizations that support me reflect what is important in this district,” Graves said. “I get support from the Farm Bureau, teachers groups and farm groups like the Pork Producers and the Cattleman’s Association. Agriculture is very important to this district and those associations support me in a big way, and so do many business groups.”

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