Glenn Nielsen and David Tyson Smith race toward the 45th District special election – Columbia Daily Tribune

Posted: April 4, 2021 at 5:04 pm

The 45th House District seat wasn't supposed to be on the April ballot.

Former state Rep. Kip Kendrick was re-elected to the post in November, his final term representing residents in Boone County.

Kendrick, however,announced his decision to leave the position later that month, opting to join Greg Razer, D-Kansas City, as his chief of staff this year.

Gov. Mike Parson called the special election Jan. 27, and Libertarian candidate Glenn Nielsen and Democratic candidate David Tyson Smith on Tuesday will vie for votesto become the 45th District state representative.

Nielsen, a member of the Missouri Libertarian Party for over two decades, decided to run after the events of the death of George Floyd last summer and the economic downfall due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Smith is a local attorney at Smith & Parnell. His potential election would make him the first Black legislator to represent Columbia and the first African American legislator elected outside of St. Louis or Kansas City.

Here is a summary of where thecandidates stand on a variety of issues:

The state legislature last week voted downa bill aimed at restricting the power of local health departments during health emergencies, such as the coronavirus pandemic.

Local control is imperative, Nielsen contends,but not health department orders instead he wants individuals to make decisions for themselves.

I am for local control but with proper checks and balances regarding COVID and other things, Nielsen said. I think individuals, families and businesses should have access to all the available information, recommendations and make decisions on what they feel is the best interest for them for their health and business.

That philosophy extends to COVID-19 regulations for businesses,mandates for citizensand strict property rights in regardto concentrated animal feeding operations.

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Forcing a solution on the public generates resentment, Nielsen said.

Nielsen supports measures to require voter identification. The better the ability to validatevotes and auditvotes, the less polarization Missouri will face in future elections, Nielsen said.

"I agree that voters should have to provide ID when they vote," Nielsen said.

Nielsen advocated the state should waive fees associated with photo identifications to help create more access to voting if photo ID laws are enforced. He also believes charitable organizations will step up to help pay for additional costs.

The Missouri House did notinclude funding for Medicaid expansionin the passed budget proposal Thursday. Nielsen sees Medicaid and its expansion as a band-aid for the real issues in health care for Missourians.

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The real problem is underscored by the excessive cost of health care, Nielsen said. That is the real underlying problem. Medicaid is just the band-aid that the government tries to apply to that problem. You need to address the problem with health care.

The Certificate of Need from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and added regulations over health care are driving prices up, according to Nielsen. The CON is a way to protect larger health systems from competition, Nielsen said.

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Nielsen reported less than $500 of contributions and expenditures during the election in a report to theMissouri Ethic Commissions on March 28.

Missouri residents voted in favor for Medicaid expansion last August, and ever since, Smith has been wary of it actually receiving funding. Those fears were realized this week when the House passed a budget without funding for Medicaid expansion.

Smith always knew it was gong to be a fight in Jefferson City to implement the wishes of Missouri voters. He's hopeful he'll be able to advocate to secure funding if elected.

The voters of Missouri voted to have Medicaid expansion, and the majority is ignoring them, Smith said. ... For them to cut it against the will of the voters is hard to fathom. People need to rise up and call their legislators.

Smith's campaign, which started with an emphasis on COVID-19, has shifted to Medicaid expansion fundingand voting rights.

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Smith has been an outspoken adversary of voter ID laws that require photo identification. Those provisions have nothing to do with voter fraud, Smith said.

The majority knows in Missouri and in America that if everybody votes, theyre not going to win, Smith said. If everybody votes, theyre not going to stay in power. They are doing everything in their power to suppress the vote.

... We are not far behind Georgia. House Bill 334 requires photo IDs to vote, which will significantly reduce the number of people that can vote. Every layer you add just reduces the voter pool.

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A potential wayfair tax is another measure Smith plans to support if elected. It's a way to level the playing field for local brick and mortar businesses, according to Smith. Missouri municipalities need the wayfair fix to help generate more revenue, Smith said.

Smith also supports a potential increase in gas taxes in Missouri.The state legislature passed a bill aimed at increasing the state's gas tax by 12.5 cents per gallon by 2025 earlier this month.

Im not opposed to the gas tax, Smith said. Itll be the first gas tax increase in 25 years. Its about two and a half cents over five years … and allowspeople to get a rebate if they keep their receipt. ... I think Missourians are ready for it."

The state "desperately" needs that money to help repair I-70, Smith said.

Smith raised $17,153 during this campaign cycle, according to Missouri Ethics Commission's April Report. He had $8,526 on hand on Friday.

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Glenn Nielsen and David Tyson Smith race toward the 45th District special election - Columbia Daily Tribune

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