Tuesday, Sep. 25 2012 4:22PM
‘No way to live’
Republican candidate for governor seeks to reverse sagging state economy
By Toriano Porter
Dave Spence will admit he is not a career politician.
A former businessman now seeking to unseat incumbent Democratic Missouri Governor Jay Nixon in November’s general election, the Republican Spence is in fact running his first campaign for public office.
“That’s my best asset, actually,” Spence said of being a rookie politician. “I think most people are looking around saying, ‘if this is what politicians have led us to, we need change.’”
Spence stumped in Lee’s Summit Sept. 18, sharing his vision at R&D Leverage, 1018 Browning St., where he toured the facilities and met with local business managers and employees.
The trip was Spence’s third to Lee’s Summit in recent months. Spence was also in the area Sept. 5 as well as in August as part of a GOP rally with state Auditor Tom Schweich, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, Secretary of State nominee Shane Schoeller, treasurer nominee Cole McNary and Fifth District congressional candidate Jacob Turk.
“This is a good area for us,” Spence said of Lee’s Summit. “This is a good conservative area. I was here for a (Lee’s Summit Economic Development) meeting (Sept. 5) over at John Knox Village and it’s a good area for us. You can’t sit at home and expect people to get to know you.”
Spence, 54, recently stepped down as the President of Alpha Packaging after nearly 27 years at the helm of a company he purchased in 1985 at the age of 26. At the time, the business had about 15 employees and $350,000 in annual sales. Spence has since led Alpha’s expansion to more than 800 employees and $200 million in revenue.
“I’m very familiar with R&D Leverage,” Spence said. “We buy a lot of the products R&D makes. In spite of what everybody would like to write off as American manufacturing, there’s a thriving American manufacturing company; we just need more of them.”
R&D Leverage CEO Todd Riley said Spence represents a chance for the state of Missouri to regain a foothold on manufacturing jobs, such as those at R&D. R&D Leverage, recognized as one of the world’s leading suppliers in single stage tooling, serves customers in 32 countries and has 260 employees according to Riley.
“As Dave mentioned, we are the epitome of American manufacturing right here in Lee’s Summit,” Riley said. “We service all over the world right here from Lee’s Summit, Missouri. It’s important that Dave understands the manufacturing process and things. He brings a lot of understanding to our business from a political standpoint. It’s important for us to understand what Dave’s agenda is and it’s crystal clear; as he talked about, common sense, and we are a firm believer in that.”
Spence has taken his campaign to all 114 counties in the state to hear what Missourians have to say about getting the state’s economy back on track.
“Throughout Missouri, it’s all the same,” Spence said. “It doesn’t matter where you are. You could be on a farm, in Lee’s Summit, whether you are in Kansas City or St. Louis or wherever, people are worried about tomorrow. People are worried about the economic situation we find ourselves in, they are worried about their jobs and they are worried about there communities. That’s no way to live your life.”