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With the election less than three weeks away, local races are starting to heat up and punches are being thrown.
Last night Rep. Bob Nance, R-Excelsior Springs, held a fundraiser for his campaign at the Elms Resort and Spa. A large crowd of supporters overflowed into the Elm’s lobby.
On hand were local city leaders along with Rep. Doug Irvin, R-Kearney and Sen. Bill Stouffer, R-Napton, and KCMO 710 morning show host Chris Stigall.
Stigall, who used to work for Congressman Sam Graves as a Clay County field representative, said Nance was always putting a bug in his ear when he worked for Graves about issues affecting Clay County.
“What you’ll never hear is how often Bob is keeping you plugged in on the federal level,” Stigall said. “That’s the harmony that is created that people don’t see and boy is that key.”
Stouffer addressed the crowd about the continuity that he and Nance have formed working together the last four years. Stouffer said four years ago the state inherited a deficit that was more than $1 billion and have turned it into a $600 million surplus. He said government has shrunk while becoming more efficient.
“For the first time in my memory the size of government has shrunk, and I guarantee you are getting better service than you were in 2004,” Stouffer said. “We pulled it out but you don’t hear anybody get credit for that.”
Stouffer fired some attacks against Nance’s opponent, Lawson School Board member Barbara Lanning, concerning the 2005 Medicaid cuts. Stouffer said the state Medicaid system was on the verge of going bankrupt in March of 2005. He said the state still spent more in 2005 on Medicaid than the year before.
“We got a lot of stuff about cutting Medicaid,” Stouffer said. “We still spent $30 million more that year than we did the year before so it’s not like we pulled the rug out from underneath it.”
Stouffer said the state is still spending more money than it was four years ago. He said a family of four making $63,000 could receive some state subsidies for insurance.
Stouffer took a personal shot at Lanning for bringing a story about her sister’s problems keeping insurance on herself and her teenage daughter. Stouffer said Lanning’s family members are pointing the blame at the state instead of themselves.
“There’s no reason that child doesn’t have healthcare. It’s negligence of the parent or some other reason,” Stouffer said. “Folks at some point you have to take personal responsibility to put your kids first and buy their health insurance before you buy them the $200 tennis shoes or the $400 jacket. At some time we have to get some priorities.”
Lanning fired back today saying that the numbers of people affected by the Medicaid cuts is much higher than what Republicans are saying. Lanning said regular everyday working families are struggling with health care costs.
“This type of attack on working people fighting to support their families shows how out of touch Republicans like Bob Nance and Bill Stouffer really are,” Lanning said in response to the personal attack. “If working people could get health insurance for the price of tennis shoes or a jacket, we would be much better off.”
Stouffer went on to say that bringing in Washington politicians isn’t going to fool anybody either referring to an appearance by U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill a few weeks ago on behalf of Lanning.
“I don’t think we ought to have working politicians come in here,” Stouffer said. “You’re the one who is going to live here. They’re going back to Washington.”
On Tuesday however, U.S. Sen. Kit Bond made a stop in Excelsior Springs to campaign for Nance.
Clay County Republican Chairman Ben Wierzbicki also took a personal shot at Lanning saying that most of her contributions are coming from outside the area.
“If you look at the ethics commission reports most of her money is coming from outside of here.”
According to Missouri Ethics Commission reports that were filed this week for the last quarter, all but one of Lanning’s contributions came from somewhere in the state, including St. Louis. Nance’s report shows that some of his contributions have come from places such as Illinois, Massachusetts, New York and Nebraska.
Nance promised supporters that he would reign in spending and would not raise anyone’s taxes. He said if Washington is not going to get the job done, Missourians have to.
“We can’t put people back in control that want to raise our taxes, spend more money and get less done,” Nance said. “Not in these troubled times.”
PHOTO:710 KCMO Morning Talk Show host Chris Stigall was the master of ceremonies at a fundraiser for Rep. Bob Nance, R-Excelsior Springs, Thursday night at the Elms Resort and Spa in Excelsior Springs.
Stigall grew up around Excelsior Springs and Richmond. His grandparents still live in Richmond. Stigall spoke about his grandparent’s farm in Henrietta and that he occasionally still attends church in Richmond. Stigall also spoke about his relationship with Nance when he worked in Congressman Sam Graves’ office as a field representative.
Stigall is a graduate of Northwest Missouri State University. (Photo by Dennis Sharkey/The Daily News)