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Column: Spence discusses hot-button topics of interest, relevance

The dust has finally settled from November’s election.  Now people are already talking about the next election cycle!  What ever happened to taking a break from campaigning?

Dave Spence
Dave Spence

I was honored and felt very blessed to run for governor.  I would be lying to you if I said I was happy with the results, but I learned many things during the campaign.  I hope to reflect on the lessons learned and continue my pursuit of the truth in our state.  We deserve leadership that will continue to expand Missouri’s economy.  I truly appreciate all of the hard work and encouragement  from our team and people that wanted to see me as the next Governor.  I am back to the “for profit” world and it often seems more sane than the political world.

Now on to why they asked me to be a guest columnist. Here are some quick hits to ponder:

Ethics reform

How does it make sense to allow the following groups to donate to elected officials: Board and commission appointees, tax credit recipients, state contract recipients and lobbying firms?  Ethics laws are put in place to keep honest people honest.  Tougher guidelines for campaign contributions and limits are vital to maintaining integrity in our elections.  I applaud state Sen. Scott Rupp, R-St. Charles, on his attempt to tackle this important issue.

Our state is wide open to influence peddling without ethics reforms of some kind.  One of the worst examples of this is when the UAW donated over $400,000 to Gov. Jay Nixon in the last election cycle shortly after receiving millions of dollars of incentives for both Ford and GM.  Does that seem right?  There are also multiple examples of board and commission appointees donating liberally to elected officials.  We need to tighten it up and clean it up.

Darius Figgins

Is our Governor that clueless that he thinks that the citizens of Missouri support him paying for a brand new plane?  I am familiar with the aviation market and there are literally thousands of used options that would have been a much better value for the state.  The main reason that he wanted the plane is that he travels with a large entourage and the existing state owned King Air was not big enough.  Lead by example and show the citizens of Missouri that everyone needs to make sacrifices.

Now to the name Darius Figgins. He was Michael Jackson’s umbrella holder.  That is the only person missing when our Governor travels.  Darius is now looking for work.  It might be a good fit.

John Lamping

I really have to commend Sen John Lamping, R-St. Louis.  He is willing to tackle the unpopular issues.  He has brought up shortening the legislative session which, in my mind, makes sense.  With technology we should be able to cut down on the number of days lawmakers spend in Jefferson City.  I know the Chamber of Commerce of Jefferson City does not like it but it sure does make sense for the taxpayers in our state.  Work smarter, spend more time at home, and cut down on the amount of overhead for travel and expenses.  John is also taking on other issues that need addressing.  This is what happens when you have someone with great private sector business expertise.  It is refreshing.

Prevailing wage laws

There has been some activity on this issue in the current session.  Labor leaders need to come to the table and meet in the middle.  In the past, it has been an all or none type of situation which is just unhealthy and unrealistic.  We are paying anywhere from 25 to 35 percent more for public projects at a time when there are a lot of people out of work.

How much more would get done and how many more jobs would be created if we simply had communication and an agreement that is fair for both sides?  Does it make sense for Joplin to be rebuilt with prevailing wages? I would venture to say that most people do not even know what prevailing wage laws are or how they work.  It is a complicated issue on the campaign trail as it is lengthy to explain.

Here’s an idea: If we simply allowed school districts to go to 20 percent valuation on bond issues (versus the existing 15 percent limit) along with prevailing wage reforms, we would have a building boom in our state like we have never seen before.  Some estimates are that we would see $5 to 7 billion of construction.  The voters still have to vote on the bond issues but why don’t we see if this idea would work.  Pretty simple idea for a potentially huge upside.