I would like to start my new blog off by thanking The Marshall Democrat-News for the opportunity to talk about my campaign, my feelings about the campaign, and also to share with all of you this entire adventure as I run for office. My intention is to give you a window into my weekly activities, and the good and not so good events that I face for the next five to eight months.
To review the salient points about the 51st district in Missouri; this district includes Marshall, and all Saline County cities to the west of Marshall. It includes northern Pettis County, but stops north of Sedalia. It also includes the eastern portion of Warrensburg. Interstate 70 is represented by Sweet Springs. La Monte is also included, so 51’s structure suggests some recent gerrymandering, which is indeed, the case.
This is the reward a party gets when it takes control of the legislature. Until that time, this area had been represented by Tom Marshall, Jim Siegfried and Joe Aull. The new structure allowed for a Republican to represent the area. At the latest reckoning, the Missouri House has 115 Republicans and 47 Democrats, a 71 percent to 29 percent advantage for the ruling party, and they have used this leverage at the expense of Democrats. Add in the big Republican sweep in 2016, and the minority party is in need of a resurrection.
I feel that the 51st district is a good place to start. I have no illusions that a huge company is going to come in, buy up all available ground, and place a plant that employs 30,000 people in the immediate area. We are primarily an agriculturally based economy and we need to support our farmers and the supporting businesses. In the meantime, we should continue to explore avenues that allow for small businesses to start up and thrive, plus, we need to support and help improve the current businesses. We need to use available tax credits and other economic stimuli to foster expansion and stabilization of existing businesses.
We need to consider the state issues, and I intend to explore different issues each week as I work toward being the next representative from this district.
I am a 30-year resident of Marshall. I worked at the Habilitation Center most of that time as its dentist. I have spent most of my adult life working with those less fortunate than most of us. I felt that it was my calling. I also did a bit of private practice, worked for a bit in the Special Needs clinic at the UMKC School of Dentistry as an associate professor. That job had me dealing with cancer patients and transplant patients. When I was nearing the end of my time as a dentist, I spent four years working with people in rest homes and did the basic services to keep them out of pain and as healthy as possible. I retired in 2015.
I have a special affinity for working class people, for health care workers and for the military. Most of my family was in the military, many as “lifers.”
I am married to Melody Lutterbie, and together we have three children and three grandchildren. We have retired in Marshall, and plan to spend our remaining healthy years here. I was on the Marshall City Council for over a decade, and I feel that I was a friend to the people who work for the city.
There are many things to talk about. In the next few blogs, I will discuss why I decided to run, what I experienced during the sign up, the immediate aftermath, and the what I intend to do to get my message out there.
I will touch on issues such as gun control, race issues, the schism between the parties and I will attempt to dissect some of the bills before the Missouri legislators. I will touch on other ballot proposals, such as the Saline County sales tax issue, up for a vote on April 3.
I will try to not make this an exclusively issues-oriented column, but instead let you know what I am doing, as well as the opinions of those that I speak with. There are multiple opportunities for me to get to know people in the area, and I will share where I will be and how to reach me.
These are my goals. I hope it is enjoyable to you and that you will be able to learn something about the processes involved in running for office, as well as some of the issues facing this particular district in Missouri.