Newcomers among candidates for state legislator positions

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

With term limits forcing the incumbents from their seats, the race for seats representing Saline County in the Missouri General Assembly will see a number of newcomers entering the fray.

In the race for state Senate in District 21, five men are vying for the seat formerly held by Jim Mathewson, a Democrat from Sedalia.

Seeking office as Democrats are Page Bellamy of Odessa and Joe K. Sadeghi of Marshall. Jim Seigfreid, who is ending his term as state representative for District 26, has also filed on the Democrat side.

Bellamy currently serves as the Lafayette County prosecuting attorney, a position he has held since 1994. Bellamy said he is seeking office to ensure that rural Democrats have a strong voice in Jefferson City. He said he would seek legislation that is flexible so local school districts, local officials and state employees working in local offices can take into account the differences between rural communities and the state's larger metropolitan areas.

Sadeghi is a former Missouri Valley College professor. Currently without work himself, he said he is keenly aware of the difficulty many Missourians have finding a job despite being highly qualified. In addition, he said providing a quality education and working to ensure health insurance premiums are affordable for working Missourians would be key issues in his campaign.

Seigfreid was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1997. In the years since, he has served on the agriculture, elections, small business and appropriations committees, among others. Recent legislation sponsored by Seigfreid would require all insurance premium rate changes of 15 percent or more to be approved by the director of the Department of Insurance, overtime pay for state employees be paid on an hourly basis and modify the basis used for determining health insurance premium costs for state employees in the Missouri Consolidated Health Care Plan.

A pair of Republicans, Bill Stouffer and Glen Kolkmeyer, are also in the race. Stouffer resides in rural Marshall while Kolkmeyer is a resident of Wellington in Lafayette County.

Stouffer is a Saline County farmer who said transportation and education are among his chief concerns. He said the state's highways will be further stressed by additional truck traffic to make up for the loss of barge traffic along the Missouri River because of the Corps of Engineers' proposed master plan.

Stouffer also said the state is sending students a mixed message by telling them to behave while removing Christian models for good behavior, including the Ten Commandments, from schools.

Kolkmeyer is a retired fire chief who currently manages a family-owned company selling propane and petroleum products. He said if he is elected school funding would be a top priority and emphasis would also be placed on improving the state's highway system. Also high on Kolkmeyer's list of goals is reforming malpractice insurance laws to ensure doctors will continue to be able to practice in Missouri.

The race for Seigfreid's seat in the House has a considerably smaller field, with one candidate from each of the two major parties filing so far. Democrat Joe Aull, of Marshall, and Republican Kevin Begley, of Waverly, will square off for the House position.

Aull has served as superintendent of schools for the Marshall school district for the last seven years, working previously in the Lexington school district in Lafayette County. By living in both counties, Aull said he knows and could represent the residents of the district on issues including education, mental health, agriculture, transportation, social services, health care and the environment.

Also coming from an education background, Begley has been the principal of Whiteman Air Force Base Elementary for three years. In addition to education, Begley said the state needs to focus on protecting and promoting small businesses. He also said efforts should be made to reduce the government's size while increasing its accountability.

Contact Chris Post at

marshallhealth@socket.net

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