U.S. Congressman and candidate for Missouri governor Kenny Hulshof paid a visit to the Newton County Senior Citizens Center in Neosho on Wednesday to shake hands and spark up some name recognition.
U.S. Congressman and candidate for Missouri governor Kenny Hulshof paid a visit to the Newton County Senior Citizens Center in Neosho on Wednesday to shake hands and spark up some name recognition as he aims toward the Republican primary election this August.
In Washington, Hulshof represents Missouri’s 9th Congressional District, which covers the state’s northeast and east-central counties and includes the cities of Hannibal and Columbia.
At the senior center, Hulshof discussed his farming background and strong family and religious ties.
Shortly beforehand, he shrugged off questions about poor ratings — along with a majority of House Republicans — by the Alliance for Retired Americans, a non-profit lobbyist group that claims more than 3.5 million retired trade union members and is affiliated with the AFL-CIO.
The rating was based on how Hulshof’s voting record in Congress matched up with ARA positions on different issues, which weren’t named specifically in the report.
“I’d love to see what key votes they looked at, to try to explain those votes if necessary, or maybe votes they didn’t include that they should have,” said Hulshof, who has served several terms on the House Social Security subcommittee. “If it is, for instance, to add private accounts to Social Security, I plead guilty. Because I don’t want to cut benefits and I certainly don’t want to raise taxes. But I think we can get a better rate of return as far as using the power of compound interest to help shore up social security."
A glimpse at Hulshof's voting record reveals a social and fiscal conservative. He favors prayer in school, absolute right to gun ownership, the death penalty and privatizing social security. He opposes abortion, citizenship for illegal immigrants, more federal funding for health coverage and progressive taxes (he voted to eliminate both the “death tax” and “marriage penalty” tax).
“I am an unapologetic conservative, yet I respect other points of view,” Hulshof said.
He pointed to the varied make-up of his congressional district, informally dubbed “Little Dixie” because of the Democratic conservative presence but which also includes a liberal-leaning university town (Columbia), as an indicator he has a mandate to be the people’s governor.
“Being a representative of a swing district, you have to be responsive to all different points of view but still stand on your own principles,” Hulshof said. “My district is just like Missouri. It is mainstream conservative but understanding that there are some vulnerable in our state that the government needs to provide a safety net for. So I take the record I have, particular votes or whatever, but more importantly my record of getting things done, and that is exactly what our state government needs. And that is one of the reasons I am excited about running for governor.”
One of the first things Hulshof wants to “get done” if elected top state executive is implement an ethics reform package.
In a primary election bout that pits Hulshof against three other Republican opponents — including State Treasurer Sarah Steelman — he said he expects Missouri economy, education and health care issues to dominate the debate.
Not being involved in state administrative politics — a jab at Steelman and Democratic frontrunner State Attorney General Jay Nixon — Hulshof said he would bring a “fresh perspective” to Jefferson City.
“I don’t have any axes to grind, don’t have any scores to settle,” Hulshof said. “This (ethics reform) package we rolled out last week is an effort to restore the credibility, or maybe enhance the integrity, of our state government. Too often I see Jefferson City becoming a smaller version of Washington, D.C. … As an outsider, I think it’s a little easier to talk about reforms, rather than someone who has been enmeshed in Jefferson City politics for decades.”
Hulshof had considered running for governor the last time around, but ended up backing off in favor of then-Secretary of State Matt Blunt — who ended up winning the governor’s seat — after Hulshof’s father died and he decided to take care of the family farm.
After Blunt suddenly announced last January that he would not seek a second term as governor, Hulshof threw his hat in the ring.
“This is our time,” Hulshof said. “I don’t mean that in the sense that nobody else should run, I’m just saying that I really feel that this is an opportunity to work for the people of the state just as hard as I have worked for the people of my district over the last 11 plus years.”
Neosho Daily News