Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Five GOP Candidates Discuss Right to Work, Transportation Funding

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Five GOP Candidates Discuss Right to Work, Transportation Funding

Article excerpt

JEFFERSON CITY * The five GOP candidates for governor politely discussed "right to work," transportation funding and state employee pay at a forum Tuesday night in Jefferson City that revealed few substantial policy differences.

Instead, the candidates focused on their individual experiences to make pitches to Republican voters.

The forum marks the first time all five candidates former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens, St. Louis businessman John Brunner, state Sen. Bob Dixon, former Missouri House Speaker Catherine Hanaway and Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder were present at a debate.

State Sen. Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, moderated the forum, which was co-sponsored by the Cole County Republican Central Committee, the Missouri Farm Bureau and several businesses organizations. The Farm Bureau hosted the debate.

The candidates were asked six questions, which they answered in front of a group of about 300 people. The atmosphere was cordial, with only a few jabs at Attorney General Chris Koster, currently the sole Democratic candidate for governor. Gov. Jay Nixon cannot run for re-election next year because he of term limits.

When asked about attracting new businesses to the state, all candidates except Brunner expressed support for right-to-work legislation, which would prohibit companies from requiring union membership or dues as a condition of employment.

"I'm the only candidate in this race who has ever cast a public vote in support of right to work," Dixon said, stressing his role as a veteran lawmaker. He added that he would sign the legislation if elected governor.

Republicans tried and failed this year to make Missouri the 26th right-to-work state. They pushed the measure through during the legislative session in May using aggressive parliamentary tactics, but Nixon, a Democrat, vetoed the bill. Lawmakers failed to override his veto during the annual September veto session.

Brunner did not mention right to work, but he touted his business credentials and pledged to attract businesses to the state.

"I know what we need to do to get competitive and when we get competitive, we'll bring business back to Missouri," Brunner, former CEO of the hand-sanitizer company Vi-Jon Inc. …

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