This is the second in a two-part series on the race for the 47th House District. The first part was published Friday and focused on challenger Susan McClintic.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – When State Rep. Chuck Basye, R-Rocheport, was elected to the Missouri House two years ago, his victory was categorized as a huge Mid-Missouri upset over well-heeled Democratic incumbent John Wright in a contest in which Basye won by just 116 votes.
Now Basye is hoping to ward off Democratic challenger Susan McClintic in what looks to be another tight race for the 47th House District seat.
McClintic is touted as a well-connected challenger and one of the few in the state who has a chance to oust an incumbent. The Missouri Times 2016 House Tip Sheet has the race for the 47th – which includes portions of Boone, Howard, Cooper and Randolph counties – listed as a toss-up.
Still, don’t bother asking Basye to lay odds on the race or to disparage his challenger, a retired teacher with the Columbia Public School District.
“I don’t make predictions and I don’t want to make comparisons to my opponent,” Basye said Monday from his office in the Missouri State Capitol. “I want to run a campaign I can be proud of.”
Instead, Basye, who turns 58 this month, wants voters to focus on his accomplishments and the issues he stands for, such as transportation, agriculture, higher education and the economy. In his freshman term, he served on committees that dealt with funding for transportation and economic development, veterans issues, energy and environment and appropriations for agriculture, conservation and natural resources.
Basye says he listens to his constituency about what issues are important to them. A district-wide survey that he commissioned recently reinforced what he suspected – that voters are concerned about transportation, the economy and education.
Basye was especially proud of a bill that is sitting on Gov. Jay Nixon’s desk awaiting his signature that would recognize two men who died during Operation Desert Storm. Two stretches of state highway will have signs erected in memory of Gulf War veterans Patrick Connor and Steven Farnen. Basye said they are still raising funds for the two 8-foot-by-3-foot signs but he plans to have them in place hopefully by September.
“I just think it’s very important that we honor, especially, the men and women who die for our country,” said Basye, a retired Marine. “Whether you agree with the conflict or not, it’s just something we should do.”
One issue he would like to take a look at in the upcoming session would be geared at law enforcement and how they have been treated following the events in Ferguson. Basye has a nephew who works for the Independence Police Department and he is considering changing careers because of the way he has been treated, Basye said.
“I just found it troubling about how he is treated,” Basye said. “He was just being called some vile things.”
Basye initially wants to meet with police organizations to see what could be done, even if it’s just a public education campaign.
In addition to his legislative responsibilities, Basye points to his background before his election as attributes that have served him well in office. Basye, a sixth-generation farmer, is retired from the Federal Aviation Administration and served as an air traffic controller in Kansas City and Columbia for 30 years before he retired in 2014.
Basye served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1976 until 1980 and then received a bachelor’s in agriculture in 1991 from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He also has served as the president of the Columbia Pachyderm Club and is a member of the Mizzou Alumni Association, Farm Bureau and Missouri Cattleman Association.
Basye lives in Rocheport with his wife, Rhonda, with whom he has three children and six grandchildren.
“I’m proud of what I’ve done in my life,” Basye said. “And I can’t stress this enough. It’s an absolute honor and a privilege to serve here. It might sound a little corny, but every time I come down here I am truly amazed and honored to work in this building. I’d like to continue to do that.”
As of the April financial disclosure filings with the Missouri Ethics Commission, McClintic also had more cash on hand than Basye – $34,421 to $23,588.