(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Missouri State Representative candidates spoke about their opinions on anti-corruption issues in the state's government Thursday evening.
The political group Conservatives Against Corruption invited all local candidates running for a state senate or state representative seat to speak at a public forum.
The candidates were asked to speak about their opinions on nine questions surrounding anti-corruption topics in Missouri's legislature.
One of the biggest topics was the CLEAN Missouri Amendment. This proposed bill states it would eliminate lobbyist gifts to the general assembly by banning all gifts more than $5, require politicians to wait two years before becoming lobbyists after the conclusion of their final legislature, lower campaign contribution limits for state legislative candidates, require legislative records be open to the public and ensure neither political party is given an unfair advantage when new maps are drawn after the next census.
"I think anti-corruption measures in Missouri really - I mean these are things that should have been passed by the legislature years ago," Robert Bergland, State Rep. candidate (D-9), said. "It's kind of embarrassing that we have to go the constitutional amendment route."
However, not all candidates at the forum were on-board with the amendment. State Rep. candidate Tine Goodrick, (R-9), said she doesn't support were some of the funding for the proposed bill is coming from.
"There was only a couple things that I was okay with. I would never, ever agree to sign a bill that had anything in it that I did not like," Goodrick said.
According to Goodrick and the Springfield News-Leader, $250,000 was given to the campaign for this bill that can be traced back to a foundation launched by liberal megadonor George Soros.
"I don't like the idea of someone like Soros being involved in our Missouri politics," Goodrick said. "We're Missouri, we're not Washington D.C. and we should be listening to Missouri people."
State Rep. candidate Christopher Evans, (R-9), said he would support the proposed bill, but Chris Shove, State Rep. candidate (R-11), said he would support each measure except the one covering the way the census maps will be drawn.
"I would support all those other things up there, but I wouldn't support the way the demographers are selected. What's a demographer? I know what one is - someone who has a PhD in Demography, but I don't think that's the kind of individual that will be selected by the auditor."
In the end, only four out of 17 candidates came out to the public forum hosted at East Hills Public Library. Those were Robert Bergland, Chris Shove, Christopher Evans and Tina Goodrick. Candidate Sheila Solon provided a statement with her stances on each issue.
The complete candidate list includes:
State Senator Candidates - District 34
- Tony Leutkemeyer (R)
- Harry Roberts (R)
- Martin T. Rucker (D)
State Representative Cadnidates - District 10
- Bill Falkner (R)
- Billy Babcock (R)
- Shane R. Thompson (D)
- Austin Montee (D)
State Representative Candidates - District 9
- Sheila Solon (R)
- Tina Goodrick (R)
- Christopher Evans (R)
- Mik Chester (R)
- Robert Bergland (D)
State Representative Candidates - District 11
- Jeff H. Penland (R)
- Lloyd Buck Graham (R)
- Chris Shove (R)
- Brenda Shields (R)
- Brady Lee O'Dell (D)
The Conservatives Against Corruption group announced they are planning on hosting another forum in July.