July 27, 2022

"Economic issues dominate District 147 GOP campaign" (The Democrat's Responses)

The following represents the reporter's questions and my answers as submitted to the Southeast Missourian newspaper at 10:21am July 13, 2022. The bold print was added only for ease of reading in this format.

Q1: As a state rep, what would you like to see federal funds used for in Cape Girardeau?

A1: Given the flexibility to choose, I would like to see investment in long-term infrastructure geared toward energy conservation to reduce consumer costs; renewable energy to decrease reliance on foreign sources and carbon-based energy pollution; charging stations to enable electric vehicles; and get into producing and/or recycling related batteries and equipment. In short, preparing for the renewable energy business environment of the future.

Q2: What might the state do in order to help communities, such as Cape, better recruit employers?

A2: We can create a better business climate by ending our state's tyrannical legislative involvement in the culture war which is creating a highly unwelcoming environment for diverse segments of the population. The rash of unmitigated attacks on public education, voting rights, reproductive rights, and a wild west attitude towards guns must be reversed. It is just easier for young, talented, creative people to live and work elsewhere.

Q3: (Per your entire question on census, Magnet, etc.) How might the state legislature help to persuade the under-35s to remain here and build a family, career, et al.?

A3: See above. Young people raising families and starting careers are concerned about the availability of quality public schools and public safety. Our state is in a race to the bottom to lower taxes by underfunding and gutting programs designed to help working families. The Missouri Chamber Foundation has identified a critical problem in its report called Safer Missouri, Stronger Missouri. Our state allows profiteering from intrastate and interstate violent crime fueled by lax gun laws. We need common sense gun regulation to get control of this onerous problem.

Q4: What do you see as the economic future of Cape Girardeau?

A4: We are blessed with natural resources and many good local employers as well. We all need energy. One of our resources is going to waste right now and that is renewable energy. The petroleum industry is in short supply of refineries. Would our region care to host such a facility? Frankly, I doubt it. Fossil fuels are finite, but as a civilization we will always need energy. Renewable energy is infinite and is something our region could use to increase self-sufficiency, and reduce costs for all.

Q5: What do you see as the most pressing issue facing Cape Girardeau that you would work to address if elected?

A5: The most pressing issue facing Cape Girardeau is the need to attract and retain young people starting their careers and their growing families. I will fight for full funding of public education and resources, such as general healthcare including mental healthcare, child care support, renewable energy jobs of the future, and other programs that make this area a great place to live, work, and play, such as conservation, clean water and waterways, and cultural activities and attractions.

Thank you for the opportunity to participate.

Andy Leighton