There is a crowded Republican field seeking to fill the Missouri 109th House District seat held by outgoing State Rep. Paul Curtman, R-Washington, for the past 7 1/2 years.
Bob Oreskovic, 53, Union, Kevin Juergens, 53, Washington, and John Simmons, 52, Krakow, threw their hats in the ring very early in the 2018 election cycle and if campaign signs are any measure, have been very busy in recent months.
The election is Tuesday, Aug, 7. The winner will face James Cordrey, Union, who is running unopposed as a Democrat.
The Missourian asked all three candidates their thoughts on several issues presently facing Franklin County and the state of Missouri and why they are the ones to solve those problems.
See more information about the candidates at emissourian.com
Why are you running for office?
Simmons, who is a physician, says he is focused on protecting and respecting the shared values of Franklin County:
“To protect and defend life from conception to natural death,” Simmons said. “To protect and defend our Second Amendment rights without encroachment. To protect and defend our heritage and way of life through limiting government, valuing work (not welfare), and enforcing the rule of law. To respect and adhere to our Judeo-Christian values and the Constitutional framework that directs our governance.”
Oreskovic, who is a retired Army colonel, says he is running because of a desire to continue public service.
“I believe I can make a positive impact representing the citizens of Franklin County,” Oreskovic said. “I think Franklin County is a great place to live, and I want to keep it that way and make it even better.”
Juergens, who is a retired educator, says he has the passion and the time to serve.
“My motivation to seek this office is based on my commitment to conservative values and my belief that I have much to contribute,” Juergens said. “I am running on the platform that the people’s concerns will always be my first priority when considering legislation.”
What problems do you think need to be addressed in Franklin County?
In this category Oreskovic believes most problems fall into two categories: workforce development and infrastructure.
“Workforce development means preparing students through our school systems and attracting workers with the proper skill sets to our area,” Oreskovic said. “Infrastructure means having high quality roads and bridges, plus access to high speed internet for all.”
Juergens echoes the transportation needs in particular the Highways 47 and 50 intersection in Union, as well as employment.
“Finding and recruiting skilled labor for positions available in the area,” he said. “We continually have to upgrade our technology for the infrastructure in our region, and funding for education always needs to be a top priority.”
Simmons says he has three main areas of concern: job creation assisted by first rate education, crime prevention and infrastructure improvements.
What do you plan to keep/change if elected?
Simmons says he will keep accessibility to, for and by the constituents of 109th District similar to the past dedicated long-term officeholders of the office.
“I will keep protecting and respecting the values of Franklin County,” Simmons said. “I will continue to change, lower and/or eliminate where possible, the tax and regulatory environment to attract businesses, jobs, and investment into our state and local economy.”
Oreskovic says he will work to build on the successes of previous Republican legislative sessions to make Missouri a business friendly state, fully fund the educational formula, and keep taxes as low as possible.
Juergens says a state representative should be a vital and active communications link between the people and the state government.
“I will be actively engaged, willing to listen, and striving to work together to make Missouri the best it can be,” Juergens said. “I understand the need to constantly be in touch with citizens, business owners, and elected officials. Most importantly, I feel my role as your state representative should be to be an advocate.”
Why should residents vote for you?
Juergens says he plans on using common sense when considering legislation.
“I am a candidate that will listen and be involved with the activities that happen within the community, I will always put the people first when considering legislation,” Juergens said. “I am pro-life, I support the Second Amendment, and I am a candidate who is proud to represent the conservative working middle class.”
Oreskovic says he has a proven history of leadership and successful public service, including 30 years of service in the military, current service as a volunteer firefighter/EMT, and current service as a Washington School Board member.
“My background and experience has prepared me to best represent the citizens of Franklin County in Jefferson City,” he said.
Simmons says after living, volunteering and owning a small business in Franklin County for more than 30 years, he has come to know, respect and identify with the great family, Judeo-Christian, strong work ethic values of the residents.
“I want to protect those values and ensure our way of life is untouched by government intrusion,” Simmons said. “As a physician I am trained to listen with focus and intent. I will take that skill and listen to my constituents, my colleagues, the experts, and ask questions. It’s our taxes after all that pays for these departments and bureaucrats and we should expect and demand excellence.”
The 109th House District includes the larger cities of Union, Villa Ridge, Gray Summit, Labadie, St. Albans and a large part of Washington.
The Washington section begins as far west as Jefferson Street, extending from the Missouri River to Eighth Street eastward encompassing Mercy Hospital.