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Rowden ad challenges Webber on public safety


COLUMBIA, Mo. – Rep. Caleb Rowden has launched an attack against Rep. Stephen Webber, his Democratic opponent for the 19th District Senate seat, criticizing Webber for votes that Rowden says could have made mid-Missouri less safe for kids.

An ad released by Rowden focuses on Webber votes on bills relating to tougher punishment for sex predators.

The ad says Webber voted to allow sex offenders to be closer to playgrounds and to allow sex offenders to be coaches.

In 2009, Webber voted for an amendment, proposed by Rep. Mike Colona, D-St. Louis, that would have removed those convicted of sexual offenses in a foreign country from a list prohibiting them from serving as coaches.

The amendment failed and Webber voted for the bill the first time it left the House. But it came back from the Senate with more provisions and Webber ultimately voted against the bill, which became law.

The ad also cites HB 589 from 2013, a law proposed by Rep. Dave Hinson, R-St. Clair, that Rowden said would have limited information available to the public about sex offenders.

The bill was perfected with broad bipartisan support, but it never received a final vote in the House. Rowden voted against perfecting the bill.

“Stephen Webber has a disturbing record when it comes to our families and our children,” Rowden’s campaign said in a statement. “Webber has consistently voted against tougher punishment for sex predators, endangering our children and putting Mid-Missouri families at risk.”

The Webber campaign did not return requests for comment.