by Alan McArthur
In the state representative District 30 race, Jason Brown, incumbent, is being challenged by Mary Anne Baier.
Brown, a Republican, was first elected to the state position in 2002. He was absent from March 2006 to May 2007 while serving in Iraq. Brown was injured by sniper fire in Iraq in October 2006 and returned to Iraq at the end of November 2006.
Brown said his goal if elected for another term is to keep the budget balanced while fighting against tax increases. Brown also said a challenge for the state is to try to figure out a solution to illegal immigration.
According to Brown, the Missouri government should focus on “family sustaining jobs” and attracting businesses to the state through job creation programs. Brown also plans to look at an incentive for families wanting to purchase a home as their primary residence.
Brown said the main reason he decided to run for election is that he believes in public service and has the education and real world experience to make a difference.
“I am not a politician, I am a public servant,” said Brown. “I don't see myself as different than everyone else.”
Because he is not a politician, he said he does not have a home in Jefferson City; he drives home on the weekends to be with his family in Platte City. Brown said his responsibility is first as a husband, then a father, soldier and finally as a representative.
“It gives me a perspective that's unique,” said Brown.
Brown said his office in Jefferson City is always open to anyone who wants to visit.
“The office does not belong to me, it belongs to all of the citizens of Platte County,” said Brown. “Everyone is welcome in the office.”
For Brown, the hardest part of being an elected official is spending the time away from his family.
“The hardest challenge is spending five months a year away,” said Brown.
Between January and May, Brown spends four to five days a week in Jefferson City and drives back to Platte City for the weekends.
“My wife carries a heavy load (those five months), without her support I would not be a state representative,” said Brown.
A recent bill passed in the Missouri government has caused some local government entities to speak out. Senate Bill 711 forces taxing district to roll back their property tax levy in years of reassessment.
“Government has to learn to live within its means, government cannot just increase revenue by increasing taxes,” said Brown. “Government's job is not to operate with a surplus. Those are taxpayer dollars and belong to individual citizens. Senate Bill 711 adds accountability and transparency. For taxpayers it gives them protections that weren't there before.”
Brown said that he enjoys serving the district and that being a representative has not changed him.
“It has been an honor and privilege to serve this district,” said Brown. “I represent Platte County in Jefferson City and I don't live in Jefferson City. I am the same person now as when I started, except for a few more gray hairs.”
Brown is being challenged by Mary Anne Baier for the District 30 state representative seat.
Baier worked for TWA for 22 years in the commercial credit department and worked for General Electric for 16 years before. Baier said she retired in 1990 from TWA. She has been active in the Democrats in Action group and as deputy treasurer for the Women's Club.
Baier said she has 36 great nieces and nephews and six great-great nieces and nephews.
For Baier, the biggest issue facing the state is a possible reduction in revenue because of the slowing economy.
“I've never spent more than I've made,” said Baier. “I think every program needs to be looked at for the financial end of it.”
Baier also said she has a soft spot for senior citizen issues and also thinks Missouri should implement an early voting system.
Baier said she does not have any future ambitions for higher office after being elected.
“I have no future agenda, my whole interest is the people I will serve,” said Baier. “I represent all the people and if a bill is proposed by a Republican and it is good for people of the county I'll vote for it. My whole time will be for the people of the district.”
Baier wants to do something to address issues about reassessment and taxes going up, in a time when the economy is slowing.
“My taxes went up $700 this year,” said Baier.
Baier said there have been a couple of bills that Brown has voted the opposite way she would have.
Baier said even though she does not have previous elected experience, it doesn't mean she's not qualified to be a state representative. Baier said that in her work experience, she has worked with balancing budgets and in financial departments.
Brown and Baier will be on the ballot at next Tuesday’s election.