Proponents of fuel tax increase announce leadership team

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The committee advocating for the passage of the fuel tax increase on the November ballot introduced a veteran campaign team to lead the way.

SaferMO.com is a campaign committee dedicated to the passage of Proposition D — which was sent to the voters by the General Assembly through HB 1460. The measure is asking Missourians to approve a 10 cent fuel tax increase, the creation of an “Emergency State Freight Bottleneck Fund,” and exempting Olympic winnings from state income taxes.

Dan Kleinsorge will serve as campaign manager, Scott Charton will serve as communications director, Trent Watson will serve as local governments coordinator, Jason Zamkus will serve as steering committee director, and Chuck Hatfield will serve as campaign legal counsel.

“It’s critical that Missouri move ahead on raising new money for a safer highway and bridge system and supporting law enforcement on our highways to protect drivers and their families. That’s why Missouri voters will have a chance on November 6 to vote YES on Proposition D, and it’s why we have assembled a top-notch veteran campaign team to lead a growing and diverse statewide coalition in support of this proposal,” said Colonel Ron Replogle, retired Superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol and Honorary Chairman of SaferMO.com.

The measure on the ballot will read: “Shall Missouri law be amended to fund Missouri state law enforcement by increasing the motor fuel tax by two and one half cents per gallon annually for four years beginning July 1, 2019, exempt Special Olympic, Paralympic, and Olympic prizes from state taxes, and to establish the Emergency State Freight Bottleneck Fund?”

The constitutionality of the ballot measure is being challenged in court by Ron Calzone and Rep. Mike Moon. SafeMO.com has requested the ability to defend the ballot measure in court.

Prop D is a statutory change allowing a 2.5-cent-per-gallon tax increase on gas and diesel annually for four years, starting next year. In 2022 the full 10 cents per gallon tax will be in place. When fully implemented, the increase is estimated to bring in about $412 million annually in new money for safe road and bridge projects statewide.

The new funding will allow money now used by the Highway Patrol for road safety and enforcement to be spent on construction and maintaining safe highways and bridges.

The current 17 cents per gallon fuel tax is the fourth lowest in the country – Missouri ranks 47th in the nation, and 46th in the nation in revenue per mile of highway. Most states with lower fuel taxes – Oklahoma is an example – make extensive use of toll roads, which Missouri does not allow.

SaferMO.com’s leadership team:

DAN KLEINSORGE, Campaign Manager: Before joining SaferMO.com to oversee this fall’s campaign, Dan served as Chief of Staff to State Senator Dave Schatz. Dan was previously Executive Director of Missouri Farmers Care from 2011 to 2014. During his tenure with Missouri Farmers Care, Dan ran the winning statewide 2014 Right to Farm Campaign. He also assisted North Dakota farm groups in winning the No on Measure 5 campaign in 2012. Dan is a tested campaign veteran, working on races and referendums in Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and North Dakota.

SCOTT CHARTON, Communications Director: Scott is a veteran campaign communicator specializing in statewide nonpartisan ballot issues. Scott served for more than 22 years with The Associated Press, including a dozen years directing governmental and political coverage in Jefferson City. Scott was Director of Communications for the University of Missouri System, advising three presidents. Scott leads Charton Communications & Consulting, providing media counsel to individuals, businesses, institutions and statewide associations. Scott directed communications for two winning Missouri REALTORS© statewide amendment campaigns. In 2017 Scott directed the campaign that won 85.89 percent approval for renewing Boone County’s 10-Year Road & Bridge Tax.

TRENT WATSON, Local Government Coordinator: Trent is in his 20th year of working in and with the Missouri General Assembly. He served as Chief of Staff for State Senator Jon Dolan, and was Policy Director for the Senate Majority Caucus. Since 2007, Trent runs Trent Watson Governmental Consulting, LLC, with client leaders from the worlds of international business and insurance, including The Boeing Company, MetLife, Reinsurance Group of America, Nike, Inc., American Diabetes Association and Comcast/NBC Universal. Trent also represents the Missouri Association of Counties, a key member of the Prop D coalition. And Trent has worked with municipal governments on critical issues in Jefferson City and statewide.

JASON ZAMKUS, Steering Committee Director: Jason is an attorney and serves as principal at Zamkus and Associates LLC, a government relations and consulting firm. Jason has been lobbying in Jefferson City for seven of the last fourteen years he has spent working in Missouri politics.  Starting with a position as a staff attorney for the non-partisan Research Division of the Missouri Senate, Jason later held positions with the Department of Economic Development as a legislative liaison, General Counsel, and later Deputy Director. In 2013, Jason was tapped to serve as Legislative Director for Missouri Governor Jay Nixon. In 2016, he started his own firm which represents clients including Worldwide Technologies, Silver Dollar City, the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations and the City of Moberly.

CHUCK HATFIELD, Campaign Legal Counsel: Chuck is one of Missouri’s best-known attorneys, handling complex litigation, particularly in election and referendum matters. He is a Partner in the law firm Stinson Leonard Street LLP, chairing the firm’s Government Solutions Practice Team from his base in Jefferson City. Chuck served for 10 years as Chief of Staff and Counsel to Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon. And Chuck has personally handled more than a dozen cases before the Missouri Supreme Court. In his regulatory practice, he has handled matters involving every Department of Missouri government. Chuck is regularly interviewed by the news media on topics related to state government regulation.

COLONEL RON REPLOGLE, Honorary Campaign Chairman: Ron served with the Missouri State Highway Patrol for more than 30 years, from trooper patrolling the roads to serving as Superintendent from 2010 until his retirement in 2015. During his tenure as the Patrol’s top leader, statewide fatality totals decreased by 7 percent. In 2010, MADD honored the Patrol as its Outstanding Enforcement Agency. Ron served on the MADD National Board of Directors from 2015 to 2016 before accepting his current role as the MADD National Law Enforcement Initiatives Manager. Last year, Ron was honored with the Martha Irwin Award for Lifetime Achievement in Highway Safety, Law Enforcement Category, by The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.

Alisha Shurr is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University. Contact Alisha at alisha@themissouritimes.com.