More than 100 Pettis County Republicans and interested citizens came to hear Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder Thursday evening as he spoke at the 74th annual John C. Ryan Picnic hosted at Liberty Park.
While keeping a watchful eye on the weather, many attendees were there to set their sights on the 2016 political race not only across the state but in Pettis County as well.
“What we need to focus on now is new leadership for our state,” Kinder told the Democrat prior to his remarks to those in attendance. “What we have is a failed leadership under Gov. Nixon.
“That began since his election, but he has continued to badly let us down since the events of Aug. 9 in Ferguson,” Kinder added. “The residents of St. Louis County are paying for his failed leadership as are all citizens across the state of Missouri.”
Kinder predicted that 2016 will be a fabulous Republican year in Missouri politics. He also called the election, “A Law and Order Election.”
“We need to restore the leadership that is missing in the executive branch,” Kinder said in his prepared remarks. “The failure of Ferguson was brought to you by the Missouri Democratic Party.”
“Nixon has continued to show his failed leadership today, when he vetoed the right to work legislation that passed by both the house and the senate,” Kinder said prior to speaking. “We need that legislation in this state.”
When asked if the legislature would be able to override the governor’s veto in September, Kinder replied that it is an “uphill climb, but it is doable.”
“When the governor vetoed that bill he didn’t come to Sedalia or my hometown,” Kinder told the crowd. “Instead he went to Kansas City and St. Louis, the home of the Union special interest groups.
“It’s a steep climb in the house to override this in the house,” Kinder said, “But to those who say it can’t be done, I would cite the override of the tax cut legislation from last year.
“I will spend all summer to bring about that override.”
Kinder also commended the strong leadership of the Republican Party in Pettis County, citing that 21 of the 23 elected offices in Pettis County are Republican held.
“The state of the Republican Party here in Pettis County is healthy,” Pettis County Presiding Commissioner and Republican Party Treasurer David Dick said. “I think that’s because we have good employees who take their job seriously and are careful to work on behalf of the people of the county every day.
“I think all of us are extremely mindful of working to maintain the public trust,” Dick added. “We listen to the citizens whenever they reach out to us with their concerns.”
Two candidates for the 2016 Secretary of State office, John “ Jay” Ashcroft and Will Kraus, spoke to those gathered, as did state Reps. Nathan Beard and Dean Dorhman.
Gubernatorial candidates Catherine Hanaway and Mike Parson were unable to attend due to prior commitments, but had representatives speak on their behalf. All other local officials were also given the opportunity to address the audience.
Prior to the keynote address by Kinder, longtime party supporter Frank Higgins was presented with the 31st annual John C. Ryan award for his commitment to the Pettis County Republican Party.