Rep. Bob Nance, Republican:
Do you support education vouchers
I do not and have not supported education vouchers because I believe our public schools are too important and must be supported as they educate most of our children. Throughout the 36th District, we have a strong system of public schools that provide a good education and sense of pride among our residents.
I have seen time and again the huge amount of taxpayer dollars that get sucked away to St. Louis and Kansas City and the failing school districts there. Something must be done to keep resources in our schools and stop the trend of pulling money away from rural schools to be placed in city schools; I will not stand for it.
How do you think the 911 systems in Missouri should be run? Should it be run as one entity by the state or should counties run the system? And what do you think of the current system in Richmond with a county 911 and a city 911 which don’t work together very well?
Counties should run the system. We don’t need another layer of bureaucracy. On the one hand, we have a need to protect our citizens and on the other, there is a call for increased taxes that would create yet another burden on working families. Missouri is large and has a diverse population. I have concerns that with a state system, our tax dollars would be diverted away from our local communities to those in the cities and the people in the outer suburbs, and our rural areas will be left footing the tab. I am in favor of a state-wide interoperable system for coordination of disaster response. The cost of this system would be significantly less and could be done with existing tax revenue.
The current situation in Ray County would benefit from a unified system, but both parties must be in agreement and satisfied with the outcome. The citizens of Ray County and Richmond deserve the best system we are capable of developing. I will continue to offer whatever assistance I can in obtaining help from the state.
What needs to be done to create jobs in the Richmond area?
At the local level, I support the formation of a partnership of the private and public sectors aimed at attracting new business and industry, retaining and expanding existing business and industry, and promoting a positive economic development climate. I have worked with other similar groups in the district through the Missouri Department of Economic Development with success and believe this would benefit Richmond. The DED finances programs used to facilitate community development including Neighborhood Assistance programs, community development block grants and small business loans and assistance. Local incentives also need to be developed because most communities are negotiating with businesses to bring them to town and we must be competitive.
Having a trained workforce is also important. The Missouri Customized Training Program assists Missouri employers with job training programs and funding to offset training costs for new and existing employees. Tabor Industries and the seat factory in Excelsior Springs has benefited from this program.
We created the Quality Jobs Act and this bill has done a great deal to attract new businesses to Missouri and at the same time offer quality jobs to Missourians. Under the Quality Jobs Act employers are given tax incentives if they offer jobs that pay above the average county wage and offer their employees health insurance. The benefits and jobs these companies offer are exactly the kind we want more of in Missouri, and while we are only recently seeing the positive impacts of this program I believe we need to propose investing more of our economic development budget to this program.
I also believe that we need to look at how we invest our money in economic development projects in general. Previously, the concept has simply been to offer tax incentives and allow companies and individuals to take advantage of them. However, recently we have started to focus on programs, like the Quality Jobs Act, that offer measurable returns on our investment. I believe Missouri needs to spend more of our economic development budget on identifying industries where the state already has a natural competitive advantage.
Whether you are in favor of the 2005 Medicaid cuts or not, what direction does Missouri need to go in for health care issues and does that include restoring or keeping the cuts?
Health care and health insurance are extremely important issues facing Missourians today. I voted against the cuts and fought to restore coverage for the disabled. Mo Health Net also restored benefits for many. That being said, if we want to move forward we have to look forward, not back. I would support a version of Insure Missouri for our low income parents and childless adults who need help with premiums. Getting the 60,000 Missouri children who qualify for assistance but are not enrolled is also a priority.
I believe the focus should be on providing access to health care, not dependence on the state. While I am not an advocate for universal health care, there are some things we should consider. Presently, there is a program in place where individuals who choose to purchase private health care can do so and pay for the plan with pre-tax dollars, much like an employer based healthcare system works. I also would support a form of Insure Missouri proposed last year to help low-income adults with their premiums.
Do you support more subsidies for ethanol and other bio-fuel production plants in Missouri, and what are some other forms of energy that you would like to see developed in Missouri?
I am in favor of reducing our dependence on foreign oil by pursuing renewable energy sources and I would like to see that done in Missouri. We already have subsidies for ethanol and bio-fuels. We have wind farms in Northwest Missouri. We expect Ameren UE to add on to the Calloway Nuclear Plant in the next few years. We must continue to move forward on clean renewable energy sources including Missouri clean coal. Many forms of renewable energy are being developed in Missouri as we speak, and I am in favor of the ballot issue that requires investor-owned electric utilities to generate or purchase electricity from renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, biomass and hydropower.