As the time to campaign for the Nov. 8 general election comes to an end, two local Democrats spoke at the Pettis County Democrats meeting Thursday evening.
Charles McCormack will face Republican incumbent Brent Hampy for the Pettis County Eastern Commissioner seat, the only contested county race on the November ballot. McCormack has worked for the Pettis County Road and Bridge Department for the last 15 years.
As a member of the crew that helped apply the test area of the county’s newly-created chip-and-seal rubber mixture last week, he spent most of his short remarks answering questions about the new product.
“I think it’s going to work all right when (rubber) is mixed with the (rock) chips, I think it’ll work good,” McCormack said. “It’ll stick to the roads real well, we’re going to have to see what it does in the wintertime once it gets really hard. With the (snow) plows it may want to peel up a little bit. One test strip was all rubber, I’m not too sure how that’s going to work … The rock and rubber mix may be the way we need to go.”
He led his remarks with county recycling, an issue county citizens are now concerned about since the City of Sedalia removed its large recycling containers now that city residents have curbside recycling.
“I’ve talked a little bit to a guy at Waste Management Corporation about getting some big dumpsters and putting them in a couple of locations, by the old high school or by JCPenney (where the containers were previously located),” McCormack said. “… It’s kind of a city thing, not county, so maybe we could have a dumpster and take it over to our north lot on North Ohio by Break Time and have the gates open so people can get to it on Saturdays.”
McCormack also talked briefly about the need for more attention to the east side of Pettis County, specifically east Sedalia, although those issues would fall mainly to City of Sedalia officials.
“Another issue is with our roads, they spend a lot of money in the western part, very little in the eastern part. … We need to spend more money on the eastern side, put more effort there. A lot of bad places in the county and east side has a lot,” he said. “With East Bing’s closing up, there’s not a grocery store on this side of town anymore. If you need a 2-by-4, there’s no lumber yard. If you need a part for your car, there’s no place. We need to find somewhere out in the county to maybe have a little strip mall with a little satellite lumber yard, maybe a little auto parts store.”
Local Democrats also heard from Kyle Garner, who has challenged incumbent state Rep. Nathan Beard, R-Sedalia, for the District 52 seat. Garner came to the meeting straight from a candidate forum in Johnson County, as the district encompasses Sedalia and Knob Noster, and he said the answers he heard from Republican candidates were “interesting but not surprising.”
Garner said Republicans constantly talk about prioritizing certain issues but that the party hasn’t changed priorities in the more than a decade the party has held the majority in Jefferson City. He said that has created a “stagnant” Missouri.
“We have to make hard decisions,” Garner said. “We haven’t raised the gas tax in 20 years, maybe it’s time to bump that up. I support a 4 percent gas tax, which will only cost the average Missouri driver $20 a year. … Our schools have to be a priority.”
Something he has said during previous campaign appearances, Garner said it’s time for Democrats and Republicans to work together for the betterment of the state rather than their parties.
“We’ve got to move beyond just the label of Democrat and Republican and talk about what that means here in Missouri,” he said. “Keep government in check and in control, but it has to function. And unfortunately the Republicans have moved so far from reasonable government they want us to become Kansas or Louisiana where government doesn’t function.”
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or on Twitter @NicoleRCooke.