Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Way We See It: Stouffer is Skelton’s Only Challenge to Re-Election

By Molly Teichman
Twitter: @mommentator

To say Lafayette County has a unique perspective on Missouri’s 4th Congressional District race to unseat Ike Skelton is an understatement. As one pundit put it, Ike Skelton has been a part of our political scene since “baby Jesus was riding to school on the backs of dinosaurs.”

Politics is a war of ideas, not personalities, and while we respect Ike Skelton as a statesman, we can no longer stand by and watch him vote with Nancy Pelosi 95% of the time.

Lafayette Co. voters appreciate Ike’s service, but it is now time for the lawyer from Lexington to be honorably discharged from Washington. After 33 years as our congressman, Ike has become part of the problem, not the solution.

In 2010, Skelton will have the first real challenge of his modern political career. His state senator, Bill Stouffer, will challenge him for his seat.

Stouffer is not a slick politician. He is a farmer. He shows up. He is honest. He is grounded.

The problem for Skelton in 2010 goes beyond the national climate. Bill Stouffer cuts at the heart of his base. He is a popular state senator in the three northern counties in Skelton’s district. His home county went for Ike with over 80% of the vote last year; Stouffer is the only Republican to get similar support on the same ballot.

Only Bill Stouffer can cut at the only Democrat base in the district; in 2010, Republicans will have to compete in the north to come close to Ike district-wide.

Stouffer’s strengths are more than just numbers. He’s not alone in beating the anti-Ike drum. There’s a gaggle of other Republicans calling for Ike’s defeat throughout the district that only helps Stouffer’s cause.

Bill Stouffer understands our economy will only turn around on the backs of small business, not bigger government. In the late 1970’s Stouffer worked with farmers throughout Rural Missouri to reorganize MFA, Inc. from near bankruptcy. Years later, it became the highest return-on-investment cooperative in the nation under his leadership.

As the state’s leader in transportation issues, Stouffer is also not afraid to tackle tough issues. He has proposed a plan to expand Interstates 70 and 44 to eight lanes, including four truck-only lanes. The plan let Missourians decide through a statewide ballot to pay for the proposal in ten years. Both roads play a major role to the economy rolling through the 4th District.

Finally, while he does not wear it on his sleeve, Stouffer is as socially conservative as they come. He is a Sunday school teacher to young adults at his church. He will also be the first to tell you his faith has grown significantly in the last six years, after helping to nurse his wife, Sue Ellen, back to health from a farm accident that led to a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Fully recovered, she is his best asset.

From the way we see it, of the candidates to take on Ike Skelton, Bill Stouffer is his only real challenge. He has not run away from Jefferson City when things got tough – he nose-dive tackles tough issues even if it is they are not politically popular.

Stouffer’s support base, his background as a farmer and leader, and his profile as a staunch conservative make Bill Stouffer the only real challenge to Ike Skelton’s re-election in 2010.