Five candidates, including three Republicans, are vying for the Missouri House District 30 seat that was vacant during the 2018 legislative session after Mike Cierpiot, R-Lee’s Summit, won a special election the Missouri Senate District 8 seat last fall.
James Lowman of Independence and Jon Patterson and Chris Hankins of Lee’s Summit are in the Republican primary, and Democratic candidate Ryana Parks-Shaw and Libertarian candidate Brad Eichstadt are unopposed and will advance to the general election.
District 30 includes a portion of south Independence, parts of Blue Springs and the Lakewood area of Lee’s Summit.
State representatives serve terms of two years. Voters go to the polls next Tuesday. Polls in Missouri are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The Examiner emailed a series of questions to each candidate, and Hankins did not respond. Here are the answers from the other four candidates:
Why are you running for this office, and what are the three biggest issues facing the state of Missouri?
James Lowman: I am running for public office for the purpose of serving not only my district, but the state of Missouri. I want to be a voice for the voters, a voice for them, and not the establishment, a party, a special-interest group, or people with agendas that do not help but hurt Missouri citizens.
We face many issues here in Missouri just like the rest of the country. The 2016 presidential election split this country and labeled people by parties. I want to show the voters that here in Missouri it’s the people and their voice that matters, not the party.
The opioid issue is a problem in Missouri, yet our state does nothing to stop these big pharmaceutical companies from producing harmful drugs that only mask pain and do not actually fix the problem but create future health issues along with addiction and dependency. Multiple other states, cities, and counties have filed lawsuits against these “legal drug dealers;” it’s time Missouri caught up in this fight.
The medical marijuana issue has people worried and fighting over something that 30 other states have already passed. The most recent being Oklahoma and Arkansas. Let’s get this one issue off the table and move onto other issues that Missouri faces. There are benefits and it has been used in hospitals in the KC metro since the ’80s (THC injections into cancer patient ports is one example). Let’s take a chance and give the citizens the choice and an option other than narcotic medications.
Jon Patterson: I am running for this office because our system of government was designed to have people from all walks of life contribute in the legislature. As a physician who talks with patients on a daily basis, I think I can bring a unique perspective to Jefferson City.
The three biggest issues facing the state of Missouri are jobs, health care, and education. In the past decade, we’ve continued to see a net migration of people out of the state. The legislature needs to focus on policies that will bring good, high-paying jobs to this state. One of the best things we could do is invest in higher education. If we want those jobs, we have to have a workforce that is trained to do them.
Brad Eichstadt: I am running to give voters a choice of a candidate that listens to them and addresses the concerns they have expressed to me while campaigning. Those concerns are: legislators failing to work together on solutions and instead resorting to partisan politics; being safe in their schools and neighborhoods; that government has become a hindrance in accomplishing the goals they want to accomplish.
Whether it is running a small business, educating their child, getting health care or a multitude of other activities voters in our district see the state as an obstacle. As a Libertarian and 27-year community volunteer leader I can address these concerns by working cooperatively with members across party lines. I want to build Missouri as a state in which individuals can live freely, be safe from violent crime, manage a small business without interference and where every parent feels invested in the education of their children.
Ryana-Parks Shaw: As a mother, health-care administrator and small-business owner, I’m running because I want to ensure our communities are safe for our children and believe constituents come first, not special interest groups of big corporations. The biggest issues facing Missouri are the rising cost of health care, our crumbling roads and bridges, and public safety.
Do you support the state gas tax increase that will be on the November ballot?
Lowman: While I do support a gas tax increase (every state that surrounds Missouri has a higher gas tax rate then we do), the bill that was put forth is now under litigation that will be heard on Friday. Our roads and bridges do need massive improvements though, and common sense dictates that without proper funding that cannot happen. I would also like to see the possibility and discussion of toll roads from Kansas City to St Louis.
Patterson: I support the gas tax increase, and I will work to ensure that money is spent on infrastructure.
Eichstadt: I oppose the November gas tax initiative as currently written because it does not fully commit the funds being raised to road and infrastructure repair. It also does not address a key cause of the issue, which is overbuilding. As the old saying goes, “If you are in a hole and want to get out, stop digging.” The state government has overbuilt and owns three to five times the number of highway miles than our eight neighboring states. Miles that it is now unable to maintain. As a Libertarian I would support a balanced proposal including a dedicated use gas tax on the revenue side combined with a plan to reduce the number of state-owned highway miles. In other words, “stop digging.”
Parks-Shaw: I support giving voters the opportunity to make the decision about if they want a gas tax. If passed, I want to ensure there is complete transparency on how the funds are going to be used. Missourians deserve to know how their tax dollars are being put to use.
What is the one single-most important thing the General Assembly could do in 2019 to improve the state's economy and improve Missouri's quality
Lowman: The biggest thing I can see is the need for a way to draw more businesses to Missouri to provide more jobs for its citizens. More jobs mean more citizens, which all means more income into the state coffers, which in turn allows for more improvements we can make in the state. We ship so much from out of the state currently; imagine the growth we could have if all that open land from KC to St. Louis was full of manufacturing businesses producing “Made in Missouri” products.
Patterson: The single-most important thing the General Assembly could do in 2019 to improve the state’s economy is tort reform. Missouri is known as a “judicial hell hole.” Not surprisingly, this makes businesses not want to move here. Along with the tax reform that was passed in this past session, I think significant tort reform measures would signal to companies across the country that Missouri is open for business.
Eichstadt: As a Libertarian I believe the state's single most important duty in promoting quality of life is the protection of its citizens and their property from violent crimes. The 2019 General Assembly therefore needs to pass legislation prioritizing ending the unconscionable rape kit backlog in Missouri and committing to the ongoing processing and reporting of all rape kit results to prosecutors and victims in a timely fashion. Victims deserve justice. My campaign has been working from the beginning to raise awareness of the rape kit backlog in Missouri and to empower police across the state to take serial rapists off the streets.
Parks-Shaw: Raising the minimum wage will put more money in the economy, strengthen the shrinking middle class and improve Missourians’ quality of life.
Below is a summary of the campaign financial records of the three Republican candidates.
Lowman's campaign has taken in $10,099.89 – more than $8,500 in loans to himself – and spent $7,561. He also made a self contribution of $1,100. His largest outside donation was $350.
Hankins campaign has compiled $13,046.06, including $8,157 in loans to himself and spent $11,032.25.
Top contributors included:
• $1,500: Eric Chia, Overland Park, Kansas
• $500: JJ Coates, Lee's Summit; Gay Hankins, Greenwood; Thomas Matthews, Lee's Summit
• $463.06: Jo Wilson, Lee's Summit
Patterson, a surgeon, formed his campaign committee in December 2016, transferring more than $46,000 from the Missouri Alliance PAC, for which he was treasurer.
The campaign had $101,760.79 on hand at the beginning of 2018 and has spent $18,228.04 on this election, including $4,034.33 this year. The campaign has $110,898.95 remaining in its coffers.
Many of Patterson's top contributors are doctors in the Kansas City area and various medical organizations. They include:
• $2,600: Missouri Society of Anesthesiologists; Surgery by Surgeons PAC; Missouri Medical Association PAC; David Humphreys, Joplin.
• $2,500: Christopher Busken, Savannah, Georgia; CJP Surgical LLC (same address as Patterson's home); Jon Patterson, Lee's Summit; Elizabeth Hinely, Savannah, Georgia; Mark Taormina, Lee's Summit; Tara Reyna, Independence; Rojana Palzer, Overland Park, Kansas; Dumrongsang Narongsang, Overland Park; John Chiratana, Overland Park; Jennifer Snider, Independence; Rishi Grewel, Leawood, Kansas.
• $1,000: Alexandr Arakelov, Mission Hills, Kansas; Steven Silverstein, Kansas City; Missouri Ambulatory Surgery Center Association PAC East; Stephanie Serafini, Blue Springs; Douglas Cowan, Leawood; Steven Scott, Leawood; Bruce Fearon, Lee's Summit; Prem Samuel, Olathe, Kansas.
• $900: Ana Marie Cusick, Gladstone.
• $750: Robert Greiner, Lee's Summit.
• $500: John Hagan, Kansas City; David Williams, Lee’s Summit; Missouri Hospital Association Health PAC; Washington Muro, Lee's Summit; Anesthesia Associates of Kansas City; Missouri Dermatological Society PAC; Shawn Lybarger, Overland Park; Emergency Medicine PAC; Nexus Group; Pharmacist PAC of Missouri, Wellcare PAC; Comcast Corporation PAC; David Steward, Maryland Heights; POL PAC; Catalyst PAC; Korb Maxwell, Mission Hills, Kansas
Of note: CJP Surgical LLC, a company of Patterson's, donated $28,000 to Missouri Alliance PAC in 2016. Missouri Alliance PAC had a new statement of organization approved in June with a new treasurer.