Different outlooks are easy to spot between Rebecca Roeber and Dale Mercer, who are hoping to replace Jeff Grisamore in the Missouri House.
Grisamore could not run for the 34th District seat because of term limits.
Mercer, a retired autoworker with a history degree, now works at a casino dealing cards. Roeber is a retired public school teacher.
Roeber, the Republican candidate, said she’s “pro-life” and would always vote that way.
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Mercer, a Democrat, said he doesn’t like abortion, but it is legal and legislators shouldn’t interfere with women’s rights. The 72-hour waiting period in Missouri is too long, he said, but he could “live with” the previous 24-hour waiting period.
Roeber said she’d always support public education but wants to reduce tax rates — to be compensated for by growth and a broader tax base. Mercer said his first priority is fully funding the state’s school finance formula. That should come before tax cuts, he said, but he doesn’t want income tax increases.
Roeber would cut regulations on small business and reform tort laws such as passing “loser-pays” legislation to discourage frivolous lawsuits.
She said recent “faux pas” by the federal government convince her that the job of citizens is to stop growth of government.
“I don’t think big government is efficient nor is it effective,” Roeber said. “Every dollar that’s spent by the state has been taken out of your pocketbook, and I trust Missouri taxpayers and Missouri business to spend their own money.”
Mercer said he’d also work to cut regulations he thinks are unnecessary.
On fixing Missouri highways, Roeber said the legislature should wait before deciding how to increase funding for transportation, noting that it’s a problem in other states as well. She said Missouri could choose from solutions those states find.
Mercer agreed it would be good to look for fresh ideas but said he’d support increasing the gasoline tax. He said the heaviest users of the roads should pay the larger share of their construction and upkeep.
Mercer wants to accept federal money to expand Medicaid in the state. He quotes a University of Missouri study that says the state has the opportunity to accept $8 billion in federal funds over six years, with the impact of adding about 24,000 jobs and $856 million in new state and local tax revenue.
Roeber is opposed to taking the money, wary of whether Congress will continue to support the program. It would be difficult to take benefits away from people added to the program, she said, even if federal support declines.
Another priority for Mercer is campaign finance and lobbying reform.
Large amounts of money donated by special-interest groups have undue influence on legislators, said Mercer, who wants tougher limits on campaign donations and on gifts from lobbyists.
He noted that Roeber and her supporters spent about $60,000 of the $100,000 used by three candidates in the primary campaign — a sum that’s out of proportion for a job that pays $36,000 a year. He said he plans to spend a total of $3,000.
“These donors must be repaid,” Mercer said. “Campaign and lobbying reform would remove the need for that repayment.”
Roeber said Missouri requires the reporting of all campaign donations and gifts from lobbyists, so it has a very “transparent” system.
Address: 603 N.E. Clubhouse Drive, Lee’s Summit
Occupation: Retired teacher
Education: Bachelor’s in education, Avila University
Previous public service: None
Website: Facebook: Rebecca Roeber for District 34 — MO House of Representatives
Address: 204 N.E. Bristol Court, Lee’s Summit
Occupation: Card dealer and retired autoworker
Education: Bachelor’s in history, Missouri Western State University
Previous public service: None