Although neither candidate discusses it in campaign literature,
abortion could be a factor in deciding the Democratic primary in
the 76th District.
"It is not a key issue," says Michael Patrick "Mike" Begley,
one of the candidates. "But some people feel it is still important
in helping them decide how they will vote."
Lana Stokan is the other candidate in the race.
Begley opposes abortion. He lists Missouri Right to Life second
in a list of endorsements in his brochure.
Stokan says "I'm personally pro-life, but it is a private
issue." Abortion is not a matter for the government to decide, she
The Missouri affiliate of the National Abortion and
Reproductive Rights Action League endorses Stokan. "We are very
impressed with her," M'Evie Mead, executive director of the
Two factors help bring abortion out of the background:
One of the candidates in the Republican primary in the district
is Barbara R. O'Mara, who resigned as president of Missouri Right
to Life, the state's leading anti-abortion group, to run for the
seat. O'Mara says she is more than a one-issue candidate, but
others say her presence raises the visibility of the abortion issue.
Abortion divides the candidates in the hotly-contested primary
in the 24th state Senate District. The 76th House district is
within that Senate district. State Sen. John Schneider,
D-Florissant, who has held the seat for nearly 24 years, is one of
the leading opponents of abortion in the Legislature. His two
opponents, County Councilman John Shear and Jeanette McCrary of
Florissant, favor allowing the women involved to decide whether
they should have abortions.
Stokan says she can work with fellow-Democrat Schneider even
though they differ on abortion.
Yard signs in the district indicate a mix of views. Along
Derhake Road in Florissant, several lawns sport both a bright
yellow Schneider sign and a red-and-white Stokan one. But nearby
are a few houses with Schneider and O'Mara signs on their front
Some people split down the middle by having on their lawns
signs for Stokan and Bob Hagaman, a candidate in the Republican
primary who opposes abortion.
Campaign finance reports required 40 days before the primary
show Stokan has raised and spent about three times as much money
as Begley. Stokan's total donations were $8,492.50 and Begley's
The candidates differ little on their approach to reducing
They want violent criminals to serve most of their sentences.
They favor alternative sentences for non-violent offenders; both
mention community service as one option.
Stokan and her family cared for her father for 13 years as he
suffered Alzheimer's disease. …