By Wally Kennedy
Globe Staff Writer
JOPLIN, Mo. —
Voters in the Missouri 31st Senate District on Nov. 6 will choose between Ed Emery, a Lamar Republican who served in the Missouri House of Representatives for eight years, and Charlie Burton, a Drexel Democrat, who is a political newcomer.
Emery wrapped up his state Senate primary race with a costly and close victory over his opponents, former state Rep. Scott Largent and Dave Morris. Emery received 46 percent of the vote to win the three-way race. Largent pulled in 43.7 percent of the vote.
Burton ran unopposed in his race.
The newly formed 31st District comprises Barton, Bates, Cass, Henry and Vernon counties.
• Emery, 60, received heavy financial support from some key backers. Documents filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission show Emery received $100,000 from the Humphreys family of Joplin, owners of TAMKO Building Products, with Ethelmae Humphreys and her son, David, each contributing $50,000 in April.
Emery also received $40,000 from the Missouri Club for Growth and $75,000 from Sarah Atkins, of Arlington, Va.
Emery, as of Oct. 8, had raised a total of $419,938 for his campaign, according to the commission. He had $60,071 on hand as of that date.
Burton raised $12,935 for his campaign through individual, union and political action committee donations of $50 to $2,000. He had $9,391 on hand as of Oct. 8.
Emery grew up in Vernon County and worked at the family feed and grain business. He received a degree in engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla. He worked 22 years with a major oil company in management and technical roles. He returned to Southwest Missouri in 1994 and is now self-employed, serving area businesses through his company, Character Returns!
Said Emery: “I am convinced that the legitimate and principal function of government is to defend individual liberty and economic freedom, not tell ‘we the people’ how to live. The reason our oath of office is to support or defend the state and federal constitutions is because the nature of government is to enlarge itself and infringe upon liberty. The constitution is our defense against that infringement, and elected officials are our gatekeepers to secure it.
“It is the uppermost function of education to ensure that the people understand the value of freedom, the threats against it, and the historic examples of its surrender. That is why education is the top priority for me, and why it is essential to the security of the United States that we return control of education to parents and local school boards rather than the bureaucracies of state and federal government.’’
Emery served four terms in the Missouri House from the 126th District. While holding that office, he said, he championed free-market solutions, individual liberties, education reform and protecting the traditional family.
• Burton, 41, has spent most of his life in Cass County. He attended public schools in Belton, graduating in 1989. He attended Longview Community College before joining the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. He has been an electrician for 23 years and is employed by Infinity Technologies.
In 1995, Burton received his certification from the U.S. Department of Labor as a journeyman wireman. He holds a master electrician certificate.
Burton served three terms as a member of the Cass Midway Board of Education, serving as president for 4 1/2 years. He served as a volunteer for the Belton Fire Department and Emergency Management Agency, and as a volunteer special deputy for the Cass County Sheriff's Department.
Said Burton: “Missouri’s middle-class families, like mine, continue to struggle in this slowly growing economy. That’s why my No. 1 priority in this election is to work with Missouri’s small and startup businesses to grow jobs for our middle class and work towards economic stability.”
Burton said his “New Deal for Small and Startup Businesses” would increase tax incentives to help encourage businesses to locate in Missouri, and to keep Missouri businesses from moving away to other states or overseas.