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Q&A with Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder

The Missouri Times: What do you feel is the state of the Republican Party of MO overall?
Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder: It’s a radical departure from the Missouri I grew up in, which seemed to be a permanent Democratic state. The last 14 years, with the Senate takeover in 2001, we have not gone for a Democratic presidential nominee since 1996.  Missouri always used to be competitive nationally for the presidency. For the first time last year, it was not targeted by any Democrats not even by the incumbent Democratic president and we have large Republican majorities in the general assembly, both houses now in their second decade.

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder
Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder
MT: You’ve always said the party should compete all over the state, you helped turned the senate to Republican hands, and most folks thought you couldn’t do that. What advice would you give to conservatives in say Florissant or south Kansas City that have an uphill climb?
Kinder: I would say show up often, not just in presidential years, and run great candidates because most of these races are won when you nominate the right candidates.
MT: What issues, in 2014, do you think will be the best for Republicans to run on?
Kinder: I think we’re going to run on lower taxes, and it appears to me with yesterday’s vote, that we have some shot at overriding a likely gubernatorial veto. I think the Republican campaign goes into November as the party of the tax cut that was delivered to working Missourians. I think that’s very positive. I think that’s good policy and, as I’ve found while I was Pro Tem, good policy becomes very good politics.
MT: It seems to be the primary season is getting longer. Do you think that’s good for the party?
Kinder: I think it is wearying and exhausting and distracting from what we need to be focusing on in 2014, which is legislative elections and making certain our one statewide officer is re-elected, which he’s going to be, Tom Schweich. I think excessively long campaigns are distracting.
MT: Our last two questions are do you plan to be active in the special elections in Stoddard county and in Dent county and will you be campaigning with the Republican nominees?
Kinder: Absolutely, if they invite me in, I would be willing to be of assistance. I had good numbers in both Stoddard and Dent counties
MT: Do you have a favorite Lincoln day memory?
Kinder: I’ve been going since I was in college, a long time ago.  It seemed like it was always fun to go when we were in college. I always looked forward to it.
MT: Was it a special Lincoln days after you turned over the senate?
Kinder: I remember asking Kit Bond, would it be like herding cats? And he said it would be more like loading frogs into a wheelbarrow. Also, John Ashcroft gave me some advice which was, “under promise and over deliver.”