The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

June 28, 2010

100 Words Project: Candidates offer views on communication

JOPLIN, Mo. — Don Ray writes letters, sends e-mails and even makes telephone calls to those representing him in Washington. His has a mixed bag of experiences with elected leaders and their staffs.

Ray is retired and lives in Joplin. He characterizes himself as conservative, but says he votes both Republican and Democrat.

“I vote for the person who will do the best thing for us. All I ask is they weigh what’s right,” Ray said.

He says he’s troubled because he doesn’t feel like he has a relationship with political leaders in Washington. He not only wants his voice heard, but listened to as well. And he wants answers.

“All I ask for is an honest response. Not a canned letter, not a politically correct speech,” Ray said.

He’s following the 7th Congressional District race closely. There are 10 candidates — eight Republicans and 2 Democrats — on the Aug. 3 primary ballot. GOP contenders, listed in ballot order, are Jeff Wisdom, Springfield, an economics professor at Ozarks Technical Community College; Gary Nodler, Joplin, a state senator; Michael Moon, Ash Grove, a farmer and employee of St. John’s Medical Center; Darrell L. Moore, Springfield, Greene County prosecuting attorney; Jack Goodman, Mount Vernon, a state senator; Billy Long, Springfield, an auctioneer and real estate agent; Michael Wardell, Nixa, a retired veteran and businessman; and Steve Hunter, Joplin, a former state representative.

Democratic candidates are Tim Davis, Branson, an attorney and economist; and Scott Eckersley, Kimberling City, a lawyer who sued his former boss, then-Gov. Matt Blunt, after he said the office broke the law by refusing to release e-mails to the press.

The Globe, after talking to Ray, put his question to the candidates and asked them to respond in 100 words or less.

What specific steps will you take, if you are elected, to make sure you are responsive to your constituents back home?

Jeff Wisdom: One of the primary reasons we have a frustrated electorate is a breakdown in communication with elected officials. Most constituents want a representative who demonstrates a genuine interest in their concerns.

I will never forget I work for the voters and serve as their advocate. I pledge to be accessible through regular listening sessions. Further, I will hold at least two town hall meetings each quarter where citizens can speak directly to me, discussing their concerns while I openly and candidly answer their questions.

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A Missouri Senate committee has endorsed a 1-cent sales tax increase to fund transportation projects. The proposed constitutional amendment passed the House earlier this month. If passed by the full Senate, the measure would head to the November ballot for voter approval. Would you vote in favor of it?

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