Missouri House, 56th District: Candidates echo party stances in race to replace moderate Chris Molendorp

Patty Johnson
Patty Johnson

Incumbent state Rep. Chris Molendorp of Belton is something of an anomaly: a Republican who supports the establishment of a state-run health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act.

But now Molendorp is leaving his 56th District seat, and the two people vying to replace him hew pretty closely to their parties’ traditional positions.

For instance, Democrat Patty Johnson said in response to a Star questionnaire that she favors Medicaid expansion “because Missouri tax dollars should remain in Missouri.”

“It makes sense to accept money that will allow local hospitals to remain open as well as providing medical care for the working families who currently are unable to afford care,” she said.

When asked about the same issue, Republican Jack Bondon responded: “State government should focus narrowly on providing effective and essential services to the best of its ability and reduce the scope of the nonessential, wasteful regulatory frameworks that eat away at the state budget and add to the tax bills of the people.”

Similarly, Bondon avoided a direct answer on income tax cuts enacted this year. Instead, he wrote, “Missouri should have the most efficient, effective and narrowly focused state government that provides top-notch essential services and eliminates waste, fraud and abuse in order to keep income taxes low on our state’s earners.”

Johnson said she did not agree with the tax cuts.

“We should not follow what Kansas is doing,” she wrote. “We must be able to fund education, repair roads and provide the services the people of Missouri expect to continue. There is no guarantee we can do that with the present tax cuts.”

The candidates took the expected positions on gun control and abortion.

On guns, Johnson wrote that “there is room for reasonable regulation, including background checks for gun purchases.” Bondon said he would “fight against those that wish to threaten this right and will not stand for more federal overreaches of power that wish to restrict our Second Amendment rights.”

Bondon did not directly address the 72-hour waiting period for abortions, enacted over Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto. But he wrote this: “We must protect all life, from conception until natural death.”

Johnson said the previous 24-hour waiting period was sufficient. “I agree with Gov. Nixon’s comments in vetoing the legislation.”


Age: 33

Address: P.O. Box 203, Belton

Occupation: Vice-president, Berbiglia Wine & Spirits

Education: Bachelor’s in business administration, Georgetown University

Previous public service: Belton School District Strategic Planning Committee

Website: JackBondon.com, Facebook: Jack Bondon for State Representative

DEMOCRATPatty Johnson

Age: 56

Address: 16404 Rebecca Lane, Belton

Occupation: Attorney

Education: Bachelor’s degree, University of Missouri; law degree, University of Missouri-Kansas City

Previous public service: Hope Haven board of directors, board president in 2010; youth court committee

Website: pattyjohnsondistrict56.com