Republican incumbent Bill Kidd has served two terms as state representative of District 20, which runs from Sugar Creek to northeast Independence to Buckner. He is running for a third term. Democrat Jessica Merrick is challenging him. State representatives serve two-year terms.

Introduce yourself. Why are you running for office?

Bill Kidd: I am a retired small-business owner and I ran for office to simply serve the people of District 20. I am beholden to no political party or corporate interest, only the people in the 20th District.

Jessica Merrick: I am a 36-year-old wife, mother and student. I have lived in this community for the last 11 years raising my family and, like many in my district, have felt underrepresented in Jefferson City. When I learned there wasn't a Democrat running for this seat, I knew I had to step up and run.

What are the top three issues facing the state, and what should be done about them?

Kidd: 1. We have to continue to invest in infrastructure at both the state and local levels. Not only is fixing roads and bridges good for everyone, but it creates a ripple effect in the job market and economy. 2. Education is always one of my priorities and that's why I've been endorsed by the Missouri superintendents and teacher associations. Education should create job ready graduates and prepare students for the rigors of life. 3. We have to reduce property taxes at all levels, but especially on our seniors. You are constantly "renting" your home by paying property tax, and you never really get to own your home. When your home is paid for, you live on a fixed income. It's not right to make you choose between paying property tax or receiving proper medical care. That's why I've introduced legislation to eliminate property tax for seniors who own their own home. I want "Mom and Dad" to have the ability to choose to stay in their home by having true home ownership.

Merrick: I believe in affordable health care. Whether we expand Medicaid, come up with a public buy-in option, or single-payer (universal) health care, we need to do better by the people in this state. The cost of health care is entirely too high, and we need to step in and fix it. Fully funding our education system is a must. Our children do not get a do-over; we need to do right by them now. Our teachers do not get paid enough; we need to do better by them, as well. We need to continue to invest in our infrastructure. We all benefit from safe roads and bridges, and the economy gets a boost from the higher paying jobs that are created!