Thursday, Oct. 18 2012 4:42PM
Forum features House hopefuls
Several candidates for the Missouri House who would like to represent parts of Lee’s Summit answered questions at a candidate forum this week.
The Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce and Lee’s Summit Journal sponsored the Oct. 16 event at Legacy Park Community Center, with five candidates attending.
Republican incumbent Sheila Solon is opposed by Democrat Dale Walkup running for District 31 which is primarily in Blue Springs but includes some of Lee’s Summit.
Republican incumbent Mike Cierpiot of Lee’s Summit and Democrat Shere Alam of Kansas City are running for District 30. Nola Wood of Kansas City and Joe Runions of Grandview, are running for District 37.
Runions informed the chamber he could not attend because he is on the Grandview Board of Aldermen and had to attend a city meeting.
Alam arrived about 45 minutes after the panel started, but joined the group to answer a few remaining questions.
The Republicans, Cierpiot, Solon and Wood, said they wanted to cut regulations and burdens on business, as did Walkup.
Cierpiot, a retired network engineer for AT&T, said as a conservative he dislikes tax incentives but legislators also have to be practical and competition with Kansas is making some form of incentives necessary.
“They need to be looked at to see if they are worthwhile and pay a dividend,” Cierpiot said.
Solon, a former Blue Springs councilwoman, touted success in her first term, including that she was chosen as Freshman Legislator of the Year for work on senior citizen issues.
“I am a Republican because I believe in less intrusion in our lives and less taxes,” Solon said.
Walkup is in his seventh term on the Blue Springs school board and serving as president, has been manager of Walmart and Sam’s Club, and owns small businesses.
“I know what it is to sweat a payroll, “ he said.
Wood said she worked in real estate, and owns a small business selling insurance. She is wants to cap punitive damages on malpractice suits to lower healthcare costs and wants to cut regulations.
“Over regulation by government is strangling us,” Wood said.
Alam said he was an educator and small business consultant who wanted to give back to the community.
The candidates often had similar stances.
Asked about making Interstate 70 a toll road to finance improvements for the highway, none of the candidates gave that idea an endorsement. They agreed that solutions to the problems in failing urban schools in Kansas City and St. Louis should be done in ways to protect the suburban school districts from being flooded with new students, especially students who are behind academically. Cierpiot and Wood said the state should consider allow residents to use tax money to send students to private neighborhood schools. Solon said she opposes open enrollment. Walkup proposed instead sending students from failing districts to suburban schools, instead let those surrounding districts take over administration of one or several schools near them but with the students attending their local school.
They didn’t think campaign donations needed to be capped, except for Alam, because state laws require reporting campaign donations and receipts of gifts from lobbyists to provide transparency to voters. Alam said he supports limits on donations but didn’t elaborate.
For more information:
• Dale Walkup: www.electdalewalkup.com
• Sheila Solon: www.SheilaSolon.com
• Shere Alam: www.SA4MO.webs.com
• Nola Wood: www.electnola.com
• Mike Cierpiot: www.electcierpiot.com