by Alan McArthur
It was a packed house--in a room sprinkled with a few Democrats among a large crowd of Republicans at O’Dowd’s in Zona Rosa--on hand to hear two candidates for governor speak and to witness a debate between two Republican candidates for county commissioner.
It all happened at the monthly meeting of the Platte County Pachyderm Club, held Thursday night. The two Republican candidates for the Missouri Governor's race spoke to the crowd before a debate between the two candidates for the Platte County First District Commissioner seat.
Governor candidates Sarah Steelman and Kenny Hulshof told the crowd what they think will be the big issues in the upcoming race.
The issues Steelman outlined included ethics reform, lower taxes, gas prices, food prices, and controlling the destination of tax dollars to ensure they do not go to terrorist linked organizations.
Steelman also outlined four things she plans to do for her energy policy. The points were to repeal the ethanol mandate, create an independent energy committee to develop alternative energy, offer tax credits for flex-fuel vehicles, and to drill for oil in Missouri while attracting an oil refinery to Missouri also.
Hulshof told the crowd he believes in reducing taxes and enforcing the current laws on the books.
Hulshof warned that Democratic candidate Jay Nixon, currently Missouri attorney general, wants to turn back the clock to a time of high taxes and political bickering.
Hulshof said he plans to create a statewide Cyber Crimes Task Force, reduce the state's dependence on foreign oil, increase high paying jobs, and increase funding for education.
After the two governor candidates spoke, a debate was held between first district county commissioner candidates Jeff Jones and Kathy Dusenbery, who is the former Parkville mayor.
The two took turns answering questions read by a moderator.
When asked what the biggest issue facing Platte County is, Dusenbery responded that the county needs to work to develop more partnerships with MoDOT and MARC to get funding.
Jones responded that he has heart and courage to do the job and feels taxes need to be lowered in Platte County because they are the highest in the area.
The next question asked was about the sunset of the parks sales tax in 2010 and whether the issue should be placed on the ballot again.
“I don't know much about this issue,” said Jones. “I believe in parks and zoning areas for recreation.”
But Jones added he thinks the county already has a lot of parks currently.
“I commend the commission for what they have done for parks already,” said Dusenbery.
Dusenbery said she would support putting the tax before voters again, but perhaps less than the half cent level.
Another question was concerning the light rail proposal by Kansas City Mayor Mark Funkhouser, which would provide a couple of bus routes through southern Platte County.
“I think this is just another opportunity to pay more taxes,” said Jones. “Who would ride it? We all have our own cars here. I am not for it at all.”
“I worked with Funkhouser on this issue and Platte County is not really included in the plan,” said Dusenbery.
Dusenbery said that if the county is going to be taxed, then there should be more than just a couple of bus routes in the county.
Another question was concerning the many fire and ambulance districts in the county and whether they should be combined.
“I think when it comes to public safety, if we can do a more efficient job and do a better job then we should save taxpayer money,” said Dusenbery. “But the bottom line is public safety.”
“Parkville had a free ambulance system, and now they pay taxes for one,” said Jones. “It's all about lowering taxes to me.”
The Southern Platte County Ambulance District was created in 2006 to serve the area of Parkville, including nearby unincorporated areas and several other small cities, with ambulance service. Jones said Dusenbery was one of the primary proponents of beginning the South Platte district.
The primary election is set for Tuesday, Aug. 5. The Republican winner will then face the winner of the Democratic primary between William Quitmeier and Michelle Wilson in the Nov. 4th general election.