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Congressman Kenny Hulshof knows farmers, but he doesn’t know many farmers in this part of the state.
Hulshof is running for governor against Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon. Hulshof has represented Missouri’s 9th District for the last 12 years in Congress.
Hulshof took an opportunity last Friday to introduce himself to farmers at T & R Soil Services in Chillicothe. Hulshof did say he is familiar with the area. He said he spent time in the area as a young assistant prosecutor.
“I need your help,” he said to supporters. “I’m not well known up here. You’ve got to talk this race up.”
Hulshof comes from a farming background, the son and grandson of farmers. Hulshof currently owns and operates a farm of about 750 acres. One way Hulshof said to help farmers and all working Missourians is to come up with an energy policy that has some substance to it. Hulshof said he voted against the Democrat’s latest energy bill because it does nothing in his opinion. He said he is in favor of exploring all energy options.
“We should not treat our natural resources here like an environmental hazard. And yet that’s the attitude of Speaker Pelosi,” he said. “I was for drilling in Alaska when 70 percent of Americans were against it. We have 1.4 billion barrels of oil in our state of Missouri. We should get it if we can. We should build a refinery here. Let’s have nuclear expansion abilities.”
Hulshof said farmers should be a part of energy. He said the wrong message is being spread about biofuels. He said the price of fuel drives up food prices, not ethanol production.
“There is still less than a dime’s worth of corn in the box of flakes,” he said. “It’s just when you stick it on a truck that has to spend $3.99 a gallon on diesel fuel to get it to the grocery store is why we’re seeing the increase in our grocery bill.”
Hulshof urged the need for reinvesting in education and specifically, higher education and training for workers. He said many of the concerns that businesses have about coming to Missouri is an unskilled workforce. Hulshof said he has a plan that would train workers for companies with the promise they would stay in Missouri. Hulshof also wants to create seed money for universities to develop incubators for new technologies with a private investment match.
“Our work ethic is second to none, but we don’t have a workforce that is ready for technological changes,” he said. “I think it’s an innovative idea to aggressively go out and say, ‘Man, we want your business.’”
Hulshof told supporters that good things have been happening in Jefferson City and he wants to keep the good things rolling. He said putting Jay Nixon in the governor’s mansion would only reverse good decisions.
“With all the good things happening in Jeff City, let’s not hit the reset button,” he said. “The attorney general is ready to turn the litigation factory back on as far as tort reform and letting these out of control lawsuits happen again. It really doesn’t reflect our values.”
Hulshof said the Missouri economy has taken a hit this year, but 95,000 jobs have been created since 2005 as the high mark. He said the climate in Missouri is changing to be more conducive to manufacturing. He said Nixon is only concerned with expanding unions.
“When you care more about creating union memberships more than creating jobs here in our state, what signal does that send as were trying to recruit these jobs and bring them here?” he asked.
Hulshof said improving healthcare also would improve the business climate. He said he cannot afford health insurance on workers who maintain his farm. He said rolling back the Medicaid cuts of 2005 would be irresponsible.
“(Nixon’s) vision of healthcare is let’s put a million people on Medicaid,” he said. “That’s turning the clock back. It’s bad care for Missouri citizens and you and I can’t afford it.”
Photo: Republican candidate for governor Kenny Hulshof spoke to supporters in Chillicothe last week. (Photo by Dennis Sharkey/The Daily News)