Posts Tagged ‘Representative Doug Ervin’

I had the pleasure of sitting down and talking with both Republican candidates for Missouri House District 35 this past couple weeks. I must say it is nice to see two candidates who I would be comfortable with voting for in the November elections. T.J. Berry and Noel Shull are both respectful, accomplished Clay Countians who would fit the bill to replace outgoing Representative Doug Ervin. Rep. Ervin is terming out this year do to term limits here in the state of Missouri.

Both candidates were asked the same questions, although each interview tended to lead in its own direction with small talk. What follows below is a belief synapses of the candidates and my thoughts. I want to thank both of them for taking the time to talk to me.

Personal Stories

I met with Mr. Berry first on Thursday July 8th. He has a compelling personal story, and while this generally works well for Supreme Court nominees, I felt it worth mentioning here. Mr. Berry has been a lifelong resident of the Kearney/Liberty area, he owns his own business (Business Cards, Ltd), and is a Deacon of the 1st Baptist Church in Kearney, Missouri. One of the things that stood out when he was telling me about himself was what led to the beginning of Business Cards, Ltd. In 1991 both him and his wife Shelly were working for the same company, Shelly was pregnant and they both suddenly lost their jobs. Instead of acting fearful and looking for a handout, they both did what is typical of Americans, they decided to take a risk and start their own business. This seems strikingly applicable in today’s economic climate and I think the experience and perspective will benefit him if he ends up heading to Jefferson City. Mr. Berry’s education actually is in the area of Graphic Arts, he has a BS in Graphic Arts Industrial Management from UCM.

Mr. Shull is an accomplished man as well and has had an outstanding career in various facets of business. He has been a resident of Clay County since 1970. Noel is retired from UMB Bank where he served as an Executive Vice-President. Noel was also appointed to the US Small Business Administration by four different Presidents; Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton. He currently serves on the Missouri Cattlemen’s Foundation Board and the Shoal Creek Living History Board. His educational background is a BS in finance and real estate from University of Missouri-Columbia and an MS in banking from Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Mr. Shull also served in the United States Army.

Issues

I thought it pertinent to ask about the issue of illegal immigration because that seems to be the hot topic button of the day. I asked both candidates if they supported the current controversial legislation in Arizona, SB 1070. Both candidates said without a doubt they support it. I asked both candidates if they would support a law like that in Missouri. Mr. Berry said that he would, Mr. Shull stated that he didn’t feel there was a need for it here in the state of Missouri.

I next asked both candidates where they stood on the issue of public education and what they thought the biggest challenges facing education were. Mr. Berry was a bit more passionate about the issue, and seemed to be more familiar with some of the current challenges facing teachers and education. He told me that there is often too much responsibility placed on the shoulders of teachers and not enough on the other two spheres of responsibility; students and parents. As an educator I wholeheartedly agree. It was nice to hear a conservative speak positively of public education, one thing that he said in particular stood out in my mind, “public education levels the playing field and breaks the cycle of poverty.” He also expressed concern about funding considering the current state of the budget in Missouri.

Mr. Shull’s comments were more limited on education, but I heard nothing that concerned me either. He felt that the biggest challenge would be for us to maintain funding on critical elements due to the current state of the budget in Missouri. He stated that one of the biggest problems schools have faced in the past is the involvement of the court system.

I next turned to the topic of the 2nd Amendment. To me there is no more fundamental of a right then the second amendment and I expect the people that I vote for to maintain a hard line on this issue. Mr. Berry told me that he felt that it was a fundamental right and that it helped maintain personal safety. Mr. Shull told me that he felt Americans should be allowed the right and that he would work to protect it.

I also asked both candidates about the Fair Tax. Mr. Berry said that he would support it. Mr. Shull said that he was not that familiar with it, but felt that it could end up being a big tax increase for Missourians.

When it comes time to vote in the August primary here in the 35th district, for Republicans, and any Democrats who have decided the party left them with this President, T.J. Berry and Noel Shull seem like two qualified candidates for house rep. I suspect that one of these two candidates will be our State Representative in November here in the 35th District come November. Personally, I will be voting for T.J. Berry in the August primary. It did take me some time to decide on this, and I even considered not endorsing one publicly. I highly encourage you to get to know both of these candidates before you make your own decision.

For More Information:

Mr. Shull does not have much of an Internet presence at this point in time, but he did tell me that he was getting his website up soon. The email that he gave me on his flier is Noel@NoelShull.com

Mr. Berry has a Facebook page, his website is www.tjberryforstaterep.com, his email is mostaterep35@yahoo.com

Below is from Clay County House Rep. Doug Ervin. Rep. Ervin addresses the denial of reality by the Nixon administration in Jefferson City.

Capitol Comment

Representative Doug Ervin

February 3, 2010

Building Castles in the Sky

“The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.”

– Thomas Jefferson,

letter to John Taylor,

May 28, 1816

Last week Governor Jay Nixon delivered the annual State of the State address to the Missouri General Assembly, the Missouri Supreme Court, Missouri Cabinet heads, and to the people of our great state.

This annual address has become the vehicle for a governor to outline his vision for Missouri and present the executive branch’s budget recommendations for the next fiscal year. It is also the event that adds definition to the agenda boundaries of each body in the legislature and the governor’s office for the current session of the General Assembly.

This year’s State of the State address did none of that. In fact, Governor Nixon dodged revealing the actual state of the state and it is now painfully obvious why after he has revealed his proposed budget to the General Assembly.

As I mentioned in a previous column, the Governor, House, and Senate budget leaders have agreed upon the revised consensus revenue estimate for the remainder of this fiscal year which ends on June 30, 2010 predicting that revenues will be 6.4% less than expected at $6.97 billion in general revenue. The fiscal year 2010 budget was passed based upon an overly optimistic revenue estimate of $7.76 billion.

They also agreed upon the consensus revenue estimate for the next budget year which begins on July 1, 2010 suggesting a growth in state general revenue collections of 3.5% resulting in $7.223 billion of general revenue.

It was revealed this week that January revenues are 22.36% less than they were in January of last year with year to date revenue collections now falling to a negative 12.55% down from 10.5% last month year to date. As a result, Governor Nixon announced another round of withholds from the current budget of $74 million.

Unlike Congress, we must have a balanced budget. The state of Missouri can’t print money to satisfy unrestrained and politically motivated spending habits – even in an election year. To have a balanced budget, the General Assembly and the governor’s office must build a state budget at or, preferably, below that target.

Governor Nixon’s budget proposal would spend $8.317 billion of general revenue, a number that exceeds the agreed upon CRE by $1.09 billion, or 15% – this is not a balanced budget proposal. The governor would pay for these excessive increases with federal “stimulus” money, which I contend is federal “dependence” money, which Missouri is expected to receive which is about $900 million dollars plus a phantom $300 million that might come from the federal government even though the legislation has not been passed by Congress yet.

After years of fiscal discipline, a budget is now being proposed that relies on significant one-time monies that may or may not materialize. Our budget difficulties earlier this decade stemmed from uncontrolled spending that relied on one-time monies. This can’t be done, but politicians are often afraid of making the difficult decisions that require discipline, because they fear unpopularity, especially in an election year like this one.

The disciplined decisions of the past few years have put Missouri in better financial position to weather this economic downturn than most states. Missouri remains one of only seven states that still have a triple-A bond ratings from the three major bond rating agencies.

The proposed budget suggests that $900 million of one-time monies be used to pay for ongoing operating costs of government and its programs. This money will not be available next year. It may be considered good politics by some, but it is lousy fiscal policy. We can’t allow the federal “stimulus” to lead us down the path to ever more federal dependency and greater threats to the pocketbooks of Missourians.

Data released this week claim that unemployment may drop to 9.8% this year, down from the current 10% unemployment rate. The data also suggests that with 5% growth in GDP throughout the year, unemployment would only drop to 9%.

How out of touch with our existing economic situation can we be to accept a budget that requires a 15% more general revenue knowing that we are currently experiencing 9.6% unemployment in Missouri? It just won’t happen – even the 3.5% CRE is too high and is setting us up for even bigger budget problems next year and years after.

This is a time for restraint, a time to prioritize, and a time to drive efficiencies into the state bureaucracy. It is a time to shed the hindrances that hold back innovation and invention, a time to empower Missourians to build dreams, not sustain them where they are.

People are outraged with the unparalleled and unabated spending spree in Washington, DC that denies the economic realities that we live in. Missouri cannot, and must not, follow in those footsteps.

This is a time when doing what is right is far more important than doing what is popular and hiding our actual state of the state. We can’t spend time building castles in the sky and hoping for a miracle. Lest we forget, hope is not a plan.

As always, I appreciate hearing your comments, opinions and concerns. LaTonya Percival, my Legislative Assistant, and I are always available to answer questions and address your concerns. I can be reached in Jefferson City at (573)751-2238 or you can write me at doug.ervin@house.mo.gov or regular mail at 201 West Capitol Avenue, Room 412A, Jefferson City, MO 65101.

###

For a Better Missouri,

Doug Ervin

State Representative

District 35, Missouri

Capitol Comment
Representative Doug Ervin
February 3, 2010

Building Castles in the Sky

“The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.”
–       Thomas Jefferson,
letter to John Taylor,
May 28, 1816

Last week Governor Jay Nixon delivered the annual State of the State address to the Missouri General Assembly, the Missouri Supreme Court, Missouri Cabinet heads, and to the people of our great state.

This annual address has become the vehicle for a governor to outline his vision for Missouri and present the executive branch’s budget recommendations for the next fiscal year.  It is also the event that adds definition to the agenda boundaries of each body in the legislature and the governor’s office for the current session of the General Assembly.

This year’s State of the State address did none of that.  In fact, Governor Nixon dodged revealing the actual state of the state and it is now painfully obvious why after he has revealed his proposed budget to the General Assembly.

As I mentioned in a previous column, the Governor, House, and Senate budget leaders have agreed upon the revised consensus revenue estimate for the remainder of this fiscal year which ends on June 30, 2010 predicting that revenues will be 6.4% less than expected at $6.97 billion in general revenue.  The fiscal year 2010 budget was passed based upon an overly optimistic revenue estimate of $7.76 billion.

They also agreed upon the consensus revenue estimate for the next budget year which begins on July 1, 2010 suggesting a growth in state general revenue collections of 3.5% resulting in $7.223 billion of general revenue.

It was revealed this week that January revenues are 22.36% less than they were in January of last year with year to date revenue collections now falling to a negative 12.55% down from 10.5% last month year to date.  As a result, Governor Nixon announced another round of withholds from the current budget of $74 million.

Unlike Congress, we must have a balanced budget.  The state of Missouri can’t print money to satisfy unrestrained and politically motivated spending habits – even in an election year.  To have a balanced budget, the General Assembly and the governor’s office must build a state budget at or, preferably, below that target.

Governor Nixon’s budget proposal would spend $8.317 billion of general revenue, a number that exceeds the agreed upon CRE by $1.09 billion, or 15% – this is not a balanced budget proposal.  The governor would pay for these excessive increases with federal “stimulus” money, which I contend is federal “dependence” money, which Missouri is expected to receive which is about $900 million dollars plus a phantom $300 million that might come from the federal government even though the legislation has not been passed by Congress yet.

After years of fiscal discipline, a budget is now being proposed that relies on significant one-time monies that may or may not materialize.  Our budget difficulties earlier this decade stemmed from uncontrolled spending that relied on one-time monies.  This can’t be done, but politicians are often afraid of making the difficult decisions that require discipline, because they fear unpopularity, especially in an election year like this one.

The disciplined decisions of the past few years have put Missouri in better financial position to weather this economic downturn than most states.  Missouri remains one of only seven states that still have a triple-A bond ratings from the three major bond rating agencies.

The proposed budget suggests that $900 million of one-time monies be used to pay for ongoing operating costs of government and its programs.  This money will not be available next year.  It may be considered good politics by some, but it is lousy fiscal policy.  We can’t allow the federal “stimulus” to lead us down the path to ever more federal dependency and greater threats to the pocketbooks of Missourians.

Data released this week claim that unemployment may drop to 9.8% this year, down from the current 10% unemployment rate.  The data also suggests that with 5% growth in GDP throughout the year, unemployment would only drop to 9%.

How out of touch with our existing economic situation can we be to accept a budget that requires a 15% more general revenue knowing that we are currently experiencing 9.6% unemployment in Missouri?  It just won’t happen – even the 3.5% CRE is too high and is setting us up for even bigger budget problems next year and years after.

This is a time for restraint, a time to prioritize, and a time to drive efficiencies into the state bureaucracy.  It is a time to shed the hindrances that hold back innovation and invention, a time to empower Missourians to build dreams, not sustain them where they are.

People are outraged with the unparalleled and unabated spending spree in Washington, DC that denies the economic realities that we live in.  Missouri cannot, and must not, follow in those footsteps.

This is a time when doing what is right is far more important than doing what is popular and hiding our actual state of the state.  We can’t spend time building castles in the sky and hoping for a miracle.  Lest we forget, hope is not a plan.

As always, I appreciate hearing your comments, opinions and concerns.  LaTonya Percival, my Legislative Assistant, and I are always available to answer questions and address your concerns.  I can be reached in Jefferson City at (573)751-2238 or you can write me at doug.ervin@house.mo.gov or regular mail at 201 West Capitol Avenue, Room 412A, Jefferson City, MO 65101.

###

For a Better Missouri,

Doug Ervin
State Representative
District 35, Missouri

Great note from Representative Ervin below about some happenings at the state level on the issue of health care. Missouri is standing up and fighting back against the federal government.

Health Care and Obligations of Citizenship

“The States can best govern our home concerns and the general government our foreign ones.  I wish, therefore … never to see all offices transferred to Washington, where, further withdrawn from the eyes of the people, they may more secretly be bought and sold at market.”
–       Thomas Jefferson,
letter to Judge William Johnson,
June 12, 1823

As the national debate on health care continues in Washington, DC, several states across the nation are taking steps to protect themselves and their citizens in their state constitutions.  Missouri is one of those states.  This week a public hearing was held on House Joint Resolutions 48, 50, and 57 which are essential in securing the rights of patients to make their own health care choices.

Even before the events in Washington, DC, the question of patient rights has been bubbling to the surface as an issue important to those interested in keeping the relationship between patient and doctor in tact.

The essence of the proposed constitutional amendment is this, “To preserve the freedom of citizens of this state to provide for their health care, no law or rule shall compel, directly or indirectly or through penalties or fines, any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in any health care system.”

The proposed amendment ensures that:
”       Each Missouri citizen has the right to pay for health care services with their own money,
”       Health care providers may accept direct payment for services rendered by Missouri citizens,
”       The purchase and sale of health insurance shall not be prohibited by law or rule, and;
”       No person will be required to pay fines or penalties if they choose to purchase their own health care and accept payment for providing health care services.

In other words, an individual cannot be forced to participate in a health care system without their consent and that individuals have the freedom to participate.

Think about it, there are two general obligations for citizenship in America:  paying taxes and the draft. Proposals in Congress today would add a third obligation of forcing each American to purchase health insurance.  Never before has the federal government used the force of the federal government to compel every citizen to purchase a product or service.

We can have the debate about whether it is responsible for someone to go without health insurance, but that is a completely different conversation than saying that every citizen must, by the force of law, purchase health insurance or enroll in a government program thereby binding them to the will of faceless bureaucrats.

Some argue that such an amendment to a state constitution is unconstitutional.  They argue that the supremacy clause of the US Constitution trumps state actions.  It is time that we consider another constitutional principle, that of federalism.  As a constitutional principle, it is important not only to the appropriate division of powers between the federal government and the states, but also the ever important pursuit of individual liberty and limited government.

Traditionally, states have been considered laboratories of democracy and innovation.  The states were able, even expected, to develop policies reflecting the widely varying local conditions of our great land, and that is especially important in health care.  Today, the federal government is asserting, if not amassing, it’s authority over the American life in regards to health care, imposing a “one size fits all” policy.  Now is the time to reassert the proper constitutional role of federalism so that future power grabs become more difficult and less likely.

We should allow the people of Missouri to vote on this proposed amendment, allow us to voice our belief in liberty, allow us to direct the future of our state, allow us to direct the future of health care, allow us to retain the freedom that we already enjoy.  If a constitutional challenge arises, then let’s have that discussion, but let us not be intimidated into silence and inaction with threat of litigation.

Federalism is all about keeping government within the reach of the people, about keeping government in its place.  Health care is personal, it is about us, each of us, and we deserve our rightful place in making health care decisions.  The Health Care Freedom Act which I have sponsored keeps government in its place.  As Alexander Hamilton proclaimed before the New York ratifying convention, “Here, sir, the people govern.”

As always, I appreciate hearing your comments, opinions and concerns.  LaTonya Percival, my Legislative Assistant, and I are always available to answer questions and address your concerns.  I can be reached in Jefferson City at (573)751-2238 or you can write me at doug.ervin@house.mo.gov or regular mail at 201 West Capitol Avenue, Room 412A, Jefferson City, MO 65101.

###

For a Better Missouri,

Doug Ervin
State Representative
District 35, Missouri