Posts Tagged ‘Congressman Sam Graves’

It’s the most important election of our lifetime! (At least until 2020.)

I thought I’d take a spin through all the races that I would be voting on next Tuesday. This is not a rundown of the entire county.

For those that don’t know how to find their ballot, you should stop right here and find something else to do with your time on Tuesday. I’m not explaining it to you. Please don’t vote.

For US Senator: Josh Hawley – Republican

I’m probably going to need two hands to fill this bubble in on the ballot. One hand to write with, and the other hand to make sure I don’t pull the other hand away as I fill in the bubble.

I don’t know why I have higher expectations for Republicans. They’ve proven to me for years that if they can find a bad candidate to run for a statewide office, they’ll probably do it.

Hawley is uninspiring. I find him severely lacking in taking strong principled stances for markets, responsible spending, and issues of Liberty.

Hell of an endorsment so far, isn’t it?

Anyway, why am I voting for him?

Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court, and the Democrats have lost their minds in this country.

I was going to vote 3rd party in this race. I didn’t care. But when I saw what the Democrats did to Kavanaugh, I couldn’t stand idly by and not be a part of removing Claire McCaskill. The Democrats behavior was beyond anything I remember in modern politics. To destroy a decent man, a man I somewhat suspect will not be the best Supreme Court justice on civil liberties like they did, the Democrats should be forced to pay dearly for this.

Trump may get 1, possibly two more Supreme Court justices. This becomes even more probable if Trump wins reelection (just puked in my mouth). I want a Republican majority in the Senate as long as we can, so there’s at least a small, teeny-tiny, itsy-bitsy chance we get Liberty oriented justices.

I’m not convinced the Constitution and the United States can survive a Supreme Court that’s tilted toward Democrat nominees.

Our Founders never wanted the Court to be impacted by democracy, but it is, and I’m going to do my part and hope we’re able to maintain the Constitution for just a little while longer.

For State Auditor: Jacob Luetkemeyer – Constitution Party

Lots of digital keystrokes have been punched on the local social interwebs about this race in the context of the Clay County Audit. And to make matters worse this race is a bit of a mess.

I have said in the last few years that Nicole Galloway is one of the few Democrats I’ve ever really liked. Overall, I think she’s done an okay job as the state Auditor.

I tend to play the longer game, so County Audit or not, I’m not voting for her for the following reasons:

  • There’s this peculiar situation that you don’t hear much about regarding her failure to produce Sunshine documents requested by the Missouri Alliance for Freedom. Sunshine for thee not for me apparently.
  • She strongly supported Hillary Clinton. I don’t like Trump, didn’t vote for him, but Clinton is one of the most crooked, dishonest people in the history of modern politics. I always look at someone who passionately supported Clinton with suspicion.
  • If Amendment 1 passes, Galloway becomes somewhat powerful in the redistricting process. I don’t trust her enough at this point to believe that she would not attempt to sway the new redistricting process.

I find the Republican nominee, Saundra McDowell, unconvincing. You would think the Republican party could come up with a little better candidate than this.

There are two large criticisms levied against her.

The first is the residency requirement in the state Constitution. I personally don’t think that one is a big deal, and it seems petty. I don’t see residency as a make or break deal for the auditor. It’s less of a “representative” office and more of a functional government role. Plus, a past Missouri Supreme Court decision seems to indicate this won’t be a big deal either. Additionally, she’s really been in and out of the state for what seems like legitimate reasons. She’s shown legitimate intent for over 10 years to be a resident. This is petty politics at its finest.

The other issue is this deal with her personal finances. She seems to somewhat be able to explain this, it sounds like a bad contract gone wrong, but something about it bugs me. I personally feel like there’s more to the story here.

I really don’t like how connected she is to some of the long standing establishment of the Republican party. I have little respect for the Ashcrofts and the Bonds. She seems to love them. That’s a huge strike in my eyes.

So, what to do?

I’m a card carrying member of the Libertarian party, and I usually vote for one statewide candidate. I somewhat know Sean O’Toole, and think he might be capable of the job. It doesn’t seem like he’s spent any effort on seriously campaigning this time around.

I’m intrigued by Jacob Luetkemeyer. Young guy, spent lots of years in private industry in the field of accounting. You can read more about him here: http://luetkemeyerforauditor.com/

So, what the heck, sounds like a fun protest vote. I like outsiders who might break things. I’m going with it.

I know some may seem a little shocked by this considering how strong of a supporter of the Clay County audit I am. I hate to break it to you, but the clowns at the county courthouse have had a long time to prepare for this audit. I wouldn’t be too shocked if it doesn’t produce much. Plus, the elected State Auditor and the auditor’s staff are really two different things. It’s not like the State Auditor is sitting in the back room with a calculator combing through all the books. It’s going to be the professional staff of the state auditor’s office doing this. Some of these people have been in their roles for years. The audit happens and is probably done as good as it’s going to be no matter who wins the office.

For US State Representative District 6: Dan Hogan – Libertarian

I no longer can support Congressman Sam Graves. He’s become a disappointment in Washington. He’s terrible on civil liberties and privacy, he votes for spending bills that have done nothing but run up the debt, and he’s no fan of the free market. There’s nothing “conservative” really left about that man. Whatever he set out to do all those years ago when he surprised all in Clay County has pretty much been a waste. He’s part of the swamp, and it’s time to send a message to him that he either needs to ship up or move out. I could care less who the Democrat is in this race. You’re only going the wrong way if you put a Democrat in this seat in Washington.

For State Senator District 12 – Dan Hegeman – Republican

If there was a Libertarian in this race I’d probably vote for them. Senator Hegeman is a really nice man, but I’ve found him to be nothing more than a rubber stamp down in Jefferson City for leadership. I read through his opponents issue page, typical Democrat who wants more government. At least with Hegeman there’s a small chance spending stays stagnant and my taxes don’t go up.

For State Representative District 12 – State Rep Ken Wilson – Republican

I know Ken Wilson quite well, and proudly consider him a personal friend of mine. Wilson has done well to try and stand on his own two feet in Jefferson City. He’s actually been good on issues of Liberty, and has shown a willingness to make party leadership mad. We’d do well to send him back to Jefferson City this cycle. He’s one of the good guys.

For Presiding Commissioner – Jerry Nolte – Republican

Commissioner Nolte is one of the good guys. I’ve known Jerry for years. He’s fought the good fight down at the Clay County Courthouse. He undeniably deserves another term. Let’s hope we can get him some help to right this ship in 2020.

For County Clerk – Megan Thompson – Republican

I was actually somewhat skeptical of Thompson 4 years ago. I’ve gotten to know her through the years. I’ve found her competent, smart, and on the right side of all the chaos down at the Courthouse. She and her office have unfortunately paid a political price for doing the right thing. There’s no compelling case to change things in the Clerk’s office.

For Recorder of Deeds – Katee Porter – Republican

This race concerns me as lots of people don’t do their research on these local races. The guy that’s running against Porter, Bruce Cantwell, has made no serious effort to run for this office, he has a major question about unpaid debt, and he appears to be unqualified for the job. Meanwhile Porter has done an excellent job in the office for the last four years. She deserves another four years in the position.

Judicial Nominees

I honestly have no clue. No one ever does a good job of getting information out about these, so I’m not voting on them. It’s okay not to vote sometimes.

Constitutional Amendment No 1 – No

This thing is an absolute mess. If there was ever an issue that was a solution looking for a problem, it’s Amendment 1. Which probably means that this thing passes because I suspect there will be a significant amount of ignorant voters at the polls across the state due to the marijuana initiatives and the minimum wage increase.

But, but, but, “dark money”.

I swear if I hear that stupid, loaded phrase one more time, I’m going to scream. It’s amazing to me watching some of you people. Say something enough times, make it sound scary, and you run around parroting it like the world is going to end tomorrow if we don’t do something.

For anyone that wants a halfway decent look at what exactly this monstrosity does, CLICK HERE.

My concern lies in the redistricting process. There’s been a significant amount of outside money spent on this thing and it looks as if it’s an attempt to get Democrats more power through the state redistricting process. There’s no strong evidence that Democrats are being underrepresented through redistricting. And, yes, George Soros is involved here to the tune of $250,000. Soros only does things that helps Democrats.

The greatest comedy is that if there ever was a person who put more “dark money” in play in the USA, it’s that clown.

The redistricing process isn’t perfect right now, but there’s a good chance this thing makes it an absolute nightmare. What we have works good enough.

Marijuana Initiatives – No on Amendments 2 and 3, Yes on Proposition C

I’m a big supporter of medical marijuana as there is a growing body of evidence that it works in both narcotic and non-narcotic forms (i.e. CBD oil). I think C is the best of the three. I’m not sure what happens if voters pass all three of these?

Constitutional Amendment 4 – Yes

Bingo! No, really, Bingo. Weird. I see no issue with this.

Proposition B Minimum Wage Increase- Hell NO!

There are two ways to approach the topic of a minimum wage: economic and moral

If there was ever an idea that proved most Americans are economically illiterate and have absolutely no idea how an economy works, it’s the concept of a minimum wage. I could spend time citing economic research that shows this doesn’t work, I could give you an explanation of how wages work in an economy, and I could show you that few adults actually work for the minimum wage.

But many wouldn’t care what the evidence is because in their eyes this is a moral issue. And you know what, I agree, but I’ll severely disagree in which way the morality is tilted.

Few things piss me off more than people who think, stereotypically, that business owners are out to harm the people that work for them. People believe that if only the greedy fat cat business owners would just cough up a few more dollars, all would be well with the world.

Well, I’m about sick of it.

Here’s the reality. Business owners deal with more stress and frustrations than most people ever dream of. Young businesses often pay minimum wage BECAUSE THAT’S ALL THEY CAN AFFORD TO PAY. By increasing the minimum wage you are directly harming the ability of the next small business to get off the ground and maybe pay a “living wage” (which is about as asinine of a phrase as “dark money”).

If you think an employee should be paid a specific wage, then get off your ass, get out there, and start a company that pays that “living wage” you’re so passionate about. If you’re making minimum wage, then do something to develop more skills that make you more marketable in the economy. There’s no reason a high school graduate should be making the minimum wage in this society if they’re not lazy. None.

I’ve worked in private business since I was 14.5 with a 5 year hiatus in public education. The one thing that is as true today as it was when I was 14.5 is the following:

Hard-workers and learners always make more money.

A minimum wage increase is the equivalent of you pointing a gun at a business owner demanding him or her adapt their business model to your demands. It’s shameful and highly immoral.

Propostion D – Gas Tax – No

This is only something a bunch of legislators could come up with in Jeff City. I personally support an increase in the gas tax, but not in this manner. If Jeff City wants us to support a gas tax, then give us one that shows us specifically what you’re going to spend the money on and why. I’d also like to see a full audit of MODOT before we pass it.

This bait and switch of putting public safety in front of the measure in the hopes we pass it is disingenous.

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I figure it’s only appropriate that Pitch’s 2014 Blogger of the Year share his thoughts on next Tuesday’s election.

Here is a copy of the ballot for all of Clay County. I will be sharing how I will vote on the races and issues I can vote on. As usual, I’m sure this post will further annoy some local politicos and confuse others. I don’t like boxes and shall not be placed in one.

State Auditor:

I find this race interesting. There’s no Democrat. I am not a fan of Tom Schweich. I had the pleasure of sitting across the table from him before the 2010 election at a Clay County Pachyderm meeting. He was rude, arrogant, and I think he thought he was just going to push me around. I stood my ground, he didn’t like it, and I didn’t like him. I still can’t forgive him for donating to Claire McCaskill many years ago. His excuse to me, that’s just the way things worked in the lawyers office he worked for… Oh… Huh?  I’m voting for Sean O’Toole, the Libertarian candidate. Is Schweich competent, no doubt, but Schweich is also as establishment as they come. I don’t expect everyone to agree with my reasoning here, but that’s where I am at on this one.

US House 6th District

While I voted against Congressman Graves in the primary, I have no doubt he is a better choice than the other two candidates in the race. I believe it is important to hold the house. While I’m not super excited to do it, I have no problem voting for Congressman Graves in this race.

Clay County Presiding Commissioner

I will be voting for Jerry Nolte. I have known Jerry for sometime, and I find him to be a great person. As you know if you are a regular visitor here, I loudly supported him in the Republican primary. I know he will make a far better Commissioner than who is currently in office.

Jay Swearingen and I have a mutual friend. Everything this friend had told me about him had me optimistic that we would have had a different race. Swearingen’s campaign is best described as the “I’m not Jerry Nolte” campaign which really makes little sense. His website has no information about a vision for the county or anything that he will do as commissioner. One thing Swearingen wants you to know is that he will show up to vote. Ok… great!

My one frustration with this race is that there will be no end to “Economic Development Councils” with either race. I find these things to be a complete waste of money and not the role of government. I don’t look to my government to create jobs., Government’s purpose is to create a positive environment for jobs to be created within.

County Clerk

I won’t be voting for either candidate. This is the quintessential Clay County race and something I have spoken out against since the early days of the blog. Follow the connections here: Megan Thompson is somehow related to Matt Thompson who is the son of T.K. Thompson who is friends with Vic Hurlbert. See how this works? Oh, wait, it gets better, Sherry Duffett is close friends with Pam Mason and worked for her when Mason was county clerk. If I was a betting man, which I’m usually not, but I’d put money on the table that Pam Mason receives a job in the Clerk’s office no matter who wins this race.

County Auditor

I will be voting for Sheila Ernzen. I don’t need to rehash all of the history here as to why. If you are curious, just do a search on the blog for Clay County Auditor or Sheila Ernzen. The McCaslins are friends with Hurlbert/Mason et. al. This is yet another Hurlbert inspired candidacy and rehashing of the vendetta against Ms. Ernzen.

Ms. McCaslin has a bit of the I-don’t-know-what-political-party-I’m-from-syndrome. Maybe her and Jay Lawson drink the same water… Anyway, she’s run as a Democrat for past elections, and now, she’s suddenly a Republican. Her husband, Dale McCaslin ran as Democrat in the primary against Ms. Ernzen.

In addition, Ms. McCaslin has no qualifications to be the Auditor. She is not a CPA, nor does she have any experience as an auditor. Wait…this story sounds familiar. William James Norris, Part Deux!

Furthermore, Ms. McCaslin has failed to show up at any voter forums, has no website, no Facebook presence…nothing.

Hopefully nothing I said above was slanderous…I await notification from Mrs. McCaslin’s lawyer. Because based upon her previous behavior, I have no confidence she’d have the courage to send me a note to explain or correct the record. But, just in case:

claycomopolitics@gmail.com

(That’s an email list above. The big font is for effect.)

Clay County Collector

I will be voting for the Democrat Tom Brandom. While I appreciate Mrs. McEvoy’s willingness to update the County’s software system, and thought that helping other municipalities tax collection was a good idea, I just don’t believe she has always acted with the interests of the tax payers in mind.

I have never really understood Mrs. McEvoy. Back in 2010, I wrote a short piece reporting that, McEvoy may have been unbondable after she was elected. Apparently, it was not okay to report facts because shortly after that I received an email expressing her frustration with me through Facebook. I offered to allow her to respond to the piece, but I never heard anything back. Since then, Meanderings tipsters say she buddied up with Hurlbert and Mason.

I’m of the mind if you are a person that runs for office, the truth matters. Guess what? We’re all human and fallible. We all make mistakes in life. Had she simply acknowledged the truth and explained, there’s a pretty good chance I would have moved on and never worried about it. One thing I’ve learned about life, own a mistake and people tend to respect you more.

Anyway, there have been some questionable things happen while Mrs. McEvoy has been collector. There is the trip to Alaska to look at new software. All the county municipalities in America and somehow Alaska was the one that was most promising.

Then there is the issue of diverting funds to an account that circumvented the auditing process. Those funds were then utilized to oppose the County Home Rule Charter that was on the ballot in 2010. On top of that, she attempted to use a private email account to circumvent the Sunshine Law.

A couple of articles from the KC MSM that are worth your time:

Clay County collector: McEvoy disputes criticism from Brandom about how she’s spent money

Clay County collector in hot water after e-mail sent from personal account

I have spoken with Mr. Brandom a couple of times. We disagree on politics, but I find him a decent and trustworthy person. In politics, especially Clay County politics, that’s saying a lot. He deserves your vote for Collector.

Constitutional Amendment No. 2

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended so that it will be permissible to allow relevant evidence of prior criminal acts to be admissible in prosecutions for crimes of a sexual nature involving a victim under eighteen years of age? If more resources are needed to defend increased prosecutions additional costs to governmental entities could be at least $1.4 million annually, otherwise the fiscal impact is expected to be limited.

On the surface this seems like a pretty simple amendment, but the more I have thought about it the more I am concerned about its implications. If a person is accused of a sexual crime, this would allow the past criminal behavior of the accused to be included as evidence. Normally, Missouri only allows prior sexual criminal acts to be admitted during the sentencing phase of a trial.

Here is my concern with this. Say a person commits a crime 15 years ago, and he/she has truly reformed their lives. They are accused of a sexual crime in the present. Let us pretend in our hypothetical that the current accusation is wrong for whatever reason. Say the evidence is circumstantial, or it is based upon personal testimony only. The prosecutor could introduce the old conviction as “evidence” in this new case. To make it even more convoluted, it appears a mere accusation, not a conviction, could be admissible as evidence.

That’s not the way I conceptualize our justice system nor our civil liberties. Admittedly sexual crimes against minors are of the worst offenses imaginable. You are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. While I’m a true believer that past behavior can lead us to be concerned about present or future behavior, I’m also a big believer that people can change. A person should be judged in a criminal proceeding upon the evidence for that crime and that crime only.

Unless someone can convince me otherwise, and I’m honestly willing to listen, I’m voting no on this amendment. (And I fully acknowledge that if I ever decide to run for office, this post will be turned into some mailer. Whatever…)

Constitutional Amendment No. 3

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:

  • require teachers to be evaluated by a standards based performance evaluation system for which each local school district must receive state approval to continue receiving state and local funding;
  • require teachers to be dismissed, retained, demoted, promoted and paid primarily using quantifiable student performance data as part of the evaluation system;
  • require teachers to enter into contracts of three years or fewer with public school districts;
  • and prohibit teachers from organizing or collectively bargaining regarding the design and implementation of the teacher evaluation system?

Decisions by school districts regarding provisions allowed or required by this proposal and their implementation will influence the potential costs or savings impacting each district. Significant potential costs may be incurred by the state and/or the districts if new/additional evaluation instruments must be developed to satisfy the proposal’s performance evaluation requirements.

I’m going to be up front. I signed the petition to put this on the ballot. I thought it important to allow this discussion about teacher tenure and merit pay to happen. Having said that, I’m voting no on amendment 3.

The language is horrible, and I have a significant concern about this line: “promoted and paid primarily using quantifiable student performance data.”

Public education is currently a mess. It’s only going to get worse in the coming years. One of the biggest problems is the current push for standardized assessments. To promote and pay primarily upon one data point borders on insanity. It won’t improve teaching or public schools. There’s a chance it could even do the opposite of the intention of the amendment. Good teachers may consider leaving the profession for risk of being unfairly judged.

There are lots of better ideas for education reform in Missouri although few people are talking about or proposing them. A couple things I would love to see would be educational savings accounts and allowing charter schools to exist in all counties of Missouri. Don’t get your hopes up because the education “blob” will work its butt off not to allow any positive change in Missouri.

Constitutional Amendment No. 6

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to permit voting in person or by mail for a period of six business days prior to and including the Wednesday before the Election Day in all general elections?
State governmental entities estimated startup costs of about $2 million and costs to reimburse local election authorities of at least $100,000 per election. Local election authorities estimated higher reimbursable costs per election. Those costs will depend on the compensation, staffing, and, planning decisions of election authorities with the total costs being unknown.

Early voting is coming whether you like it or not. I’m not a fan. Some on the left like to use early voting to cheat and win elections. If they had their way, they’d vote as long and as often as possible. They are convinced of a false narrative about ballot access and voting, but then again, many of them are convinced of endless false narratives about our society. This version of early voting may be the most favorable to protecting against fraud and corruption. I will be voting yes on Amendment 6.

My good friend Mike Ferguson puts together a public policy show called Missouri Viewpoints. I’d encourage you to go watch the episode that looks at this issue:

Constitutional Amendment No. 10

Official Ballot Title:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to require the governor to pay the public debt, to prohibit the governor from relying on revenue from legislation not yet passed when proposing a budget, and to provide a legislative check on the governor’s decisions to restrict funding for education and other state services?
State governmental entities expect no direct costs or savings. Local governmental entities expect an unknown fiscal impact.

Fair Ballot Language:

A “yes” vote will amend the Missouri Constitution regarding the requirements placed on the governor for proposing a state budget and for withholding money appropriated in the budget passed by the legislature. This amendment prohibits the governor from reducing funding passed by the general assembly without receiving legislative consent, and provides certain other restrictions on the governor’s ability to increase or decrease line items in the budget. This amendment further prohibits the governor from proposing a budget that relies on revenue from legislation that has not yet passed in the general assembly.
A “no” vote will not amend the Missouri Constitution regarding the requirements placed on the governor for proposing a state budget and for withholding money appropriated in the budget passed by the legislature.
If passed, this measure will have no impact on taxes.

This is one of those things that could go either way. It may not be the best fix, but I like the idea. I will be voting for Amendment 10. This puts the power of the purse in the hands of the people through the legislature. Governor Nixon has used with-holdings for political ends. One should not vote on this with Nixon in mind, I would fear the same thing with a Republican governor. Because if it’s one consistent thing about Missouri politics, we elect really crappy governors.

Once again, check out the Missouri Viewpoints episode on this topic:

Kansas City Question 1 Capital Improvements Tax

NO!

Kansas City Question 2 Public Transportation Sales Tax

NO! Both Question 1 and 2 are the result of crazy-man Clay Chastain.

My new column is up over at TheNorthlandPost.com. They have added a way to comment on their website, feel free to join the discussion there.

I am often frustrated by the complete lack of understanding of American politics by the average American. So, I thought with this week’s column, I would delve into an examination of the American political spectrum.

Read the rest (and see my really cool graphic I created, too) by clicking here.