Lee’s Summit Councilman Bob Johnson files for state legislature

rpulley@lsjournal.comMarch 26, 2014 

Lee’s Summit Councilman Bob Johnson wants to return to state office. He filed for election to the 34th District of the Missouri House.

Johnson, who already has served in the General Assembly’s House and Senate, registered on the final filing day, March 25, for the seat being vacated by Jeff Grisamore. He is ineligible to run again due to term limits.

Johnson, Justin Kalwei and Rebecca Roeber, all of Lee’s Summit, have filed as Republicans and will face each other in the Aug. 5 primary election.

The primary winner will be opposed by Dale Mercer in the General Election Nov. 4, who was the only Democratic Party candidate who filed in District 34, as of the Journal’s deadline.

Will Kraus was unopposed for State Senate District 8 (at deadline) and Gary Cross, a Republican, was unopposed in the primary for his District 35 seat, but faces Democrat Ken Duvall in the general election. Bob Gough, of Lee’s Summit, is one of several Democrat challengers for Emanuel Cleaver’s seat in U.S. House of Representatives District 5 and Bill Lindsey of Lee’s Summit is among several Republicans in the primary.

Johnson said he thinks that state politics in recent years has been so partisan that it’s prevented legislators from acting on important issues.

“I’m just the kind of person who doesn’t get caught up in right wing or left wing,” Johnson said. “I try to make sure all sides of the community gets heard. Maybe we ought to have some middle ground.

“I think my views represent the 65 percent of middle Americans who don’t have a voice.”

He said one priority will be tax reform by tightening tax credits, such as those for historic restoration, which costs Missouri about $600 million in revenue. Because the state can’t collect those revenues it has difficulty for roads, education and catastrophic care for the disabled. He said the legislature also needs new approach to fixing failing schools and school finance instead of getting bogged down on debates over issues like school vouchers.

Johnson is well-known politician. He’s been on the council since 2008, after an earlier term in 1998. He also served on the Lee’s Summit R-7 School Board from 1995-1998 and served 15 years in the senate and eight years in the house.

He then was on the council from 1998 to 2002, elected again in 2008 and re-elected in 2012.

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