The shadow of former House Speaker Bob Griffin hangs over the
Democratic primary in the 104th House District in southern
State Rep. Norman Sheldon of the De Soto area is seeking his
party's nomination in the Aug. 6 primary as the first step toward
winning a fifth term. He was one of eight Democrats who voted
against reappointing Griffin, a fellow Democrat, as speaker when
the House opened its 1995 session.
Johnell Geisler McLean, also of the De Soto area, says she was
encouraged to run by Democrats who were upset with Sheldon's vote.
She says they did not specifically ask her to run because of
Sheldon's action. It was one of several reasons she has obtained
their support, McLean says.
In the November general election, the winner will face Bruce
Valle, a Republican from De Soto who is unopposed in his party's
primary. Valle ran unsuccessfully against Sheldon two years ago.
On Monday, Sheldon vehemently defended his vote against
Griffin. "It was the right vote," Sheldon says. "That man was no
good. No one should have that much power." The power Griffin
wielded is not good for the state, Sheldon says.
"Some people say I am not a Democrat because I did not vote for
Griffin," Sheldon says. He says voted for State Rep. Steve Gaw,
D-Moberly, the current speaker. Sheldon says his constituents
agreed with his actions.
McLean says, "My opponent voted with the Republicans too much
to make Democrats comfortable."
The 104th District covers southern Jefferson County, except for
a pop ulated strip along the Mississippi River. De Soto is the
Sheldon, 60, is retired as business manager of Local 718 of the
McLean, 52, is the newspaper carrier for the district,
delivering the Post-Dispatch and Journal newspapers to residents.
She also handled the Globe-Democrat in the area before the paper
folded. She has been a carrier in the area for 29 years.
Health care is a concern of both candidates.
Sheldon complained some elderly constituents in the Medicaid
program were unable to select the health maintenance organization
that best suits them. The state is shifting Medicaid recipients to
"Some people didn't chose the plan that was best them," Sheldon
says. "No one was allowed to tell them what was the best plan for
them," he says.
He says he wants to change state law to allow state officials
to give advice about health maintenance organizations.
McLean would like the state to subsidize health insurance
premiums of some welfare recipients so they could afford to leave
the welfare system. She says they are stuck because the low-paying
jobs they could obtain would not allow them to buy health insurance.
The state could save money and improve access to health care if
it paid midwives to deliver babies of women who show no indication
of having trouble giving birth. …