816 North

Missouri House, 18th District: Candidates for open seat disagree on taxes, Medicaid, waiting period for abortions

Lauren Arthur
Lauren Arthur

Northland voters will consider two candidates with many opposing views when they pick a replacement for Rep. Jay Swearingen, who is leaving the Missouri House to run for Clay County presiding commissioner.

Democrat Lauren Arthur and Republican Robert Rowland agree that Missouri needs to rein in campaign contributions and gifts from lobbyists, but they disagree on income tax cuts and other issues.

“Cutting taxes is good for helping the economy to get on its feet,” Rowland said. “Missouri is losing business to Kansas because of the tax credits Kansas gives.”

Arthur said that tax reformers need to focus on getting more money into the hands of the middle class.

“Those arguing the (tax cut) legislation will spark economic growth should look to Kansas,” she said. “Similar legislation in Kansas has been a disaster.”

Arthur also criticized the legislature for turning away federal Medicaid money to help more low-income people with health care.

“I spoke recently with a man who made the difficult decision between paying rent and having health insurance,” she said. “He chose insurance and moved — along with his two young children — into his mother’s home. His struggle is real and difficult but unnecessary.”

Rowland, though, worries about the long-term costs.

“Many states have made extra money from their Medicaid programs by taxing providers and insurers for participating in the program,” he said. “These accounting gimmicks will almost assuredly be prohibited in future federal budget negotiations, leaving states on the hook for more Medicaid spending.”

Rowland, who spent his career as a Smithville teacher, said Missouri schools need to focus on getting students the skills that are especially relevant in high-tech environments.

He would require individual schools to be accredited rather than entire districts and thinks the state should allow more organizations to sponsor charter schools in unaccredited districts. He’d like to mandate that the state establish a clearinghouse to assist in the student transfer process.

“Let local school boards establish criteria for admitting nonresident students from unaccredited districts, considering a variety of factors and establishing class sizes to determine capacity,” he said.

Arthur, who also has classroom experience through Teach for America, said she puts a high priority on education and wants to focus on getting the right educational resources into Missouri schools. And she’s firmly against a student transfer proposal that didn’t pass this year.

“Allowing students in unaccredited schools to transfer to private, nonreligious schools creates new problems while addressing only symptoms of the problem instead of the problem itself,” Arthur said.

The candidates fell along party lines on the new 72-hour waiting period for abortions. Rowland is for it. Arthur is not.

DEMOCRATLauren Arthur

Age: 27

Address: 193 E. 27th Ave., North Kansas City

Occupation: Project manager at VML

Education: Master’s in education, University of Missouri-St. Louis; bachelor’s of art, Smith College, 2010

Previous public experience: None

Website: arthurformissouri.com

REPUBLICANRobert (Bob) Rowland

Age: 69

Address: 4926 N. College Ave., Kansas City

Occupation: Retired after 40 years teaching in the Smithville School District.

Education: Bachelor’s in history and economics, Rockhurst University

Previous public experience: None

Website: rowlandformissouri.com