Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Response from Judy Baker, Candidate for Lieutenant Governor

1.    What do you view as the key role, and/or attributes needed for this position?  What experience/attributes do you have that qualify you for this position? 

First and foremost, the Lieutenant Governor must be ready to assume the duties and powers of the Governor “upon the death, conviction, impeachment, failure to qualify, resignation or other disabilities” (according to state statutes). Also it’s important to note the LG serves on selected commissions overseeing important issues such as services for seniors, veterans and affordable housing. Finally, as the president of the senate, the LG presides and occasionally must cast the tie-breaking vote.

I have had extensive experience in the private and public sectors, including executive responsibilities and hands-on legislative and policy-making experience that make me uniquely qualified to serve as an effective LG.

2.    Why do you think you are the best person for this position?  What differentiates you from your opponent(s)?

My depth and breadth of experience in both private and public sectors, and at the state and federal levels of government, make me uniquely qualified to serve as Missouri’s next LG. I worked in healthcare administration and taught Health Policy & Economics before serving in the state house for four years. After running for congress in 2008, I served as Regional Director with Health and Human Services under Secretary Sebelius for two years, leaving my position last fall to prepare for my campaign.

3.    What do you feel are the most pressing issues currently facing this office and what plans do you have to address these issues? (please be specific)

I feel our most pressing issues are the looming crisis of an aging baby boomer generation, and providing the necessary services and support for our troops when they come home. Along with many other initiatives, I will work to convene a commission on our healthcare workforce to make recommendations to the legislature addressing the needs of healthcare professionals through our universities, community colleges and vocational institutions. To support our returning veterans, I will work with our civilian mental healthcare workforce to expand special training available to providers so they can address the special mental healthcare needs of returning troops.

4.    Why is the selection of Lieutenant Governor important?

The LG must be ready to assume the responsibilities of Governor at a moment’s notice, and also have the skills and experience to be an effective bridge-builder in a dysfunctional State Senate. It’s critical for this role to be filled by a skilled and principled Democrat willing to stand up for our party’s values, but who can also build relationships and make a persuadable case for reforms.

5.    What will you do to advance the profile of your office?

I will use executive experience and legislative know-how to form study commissions focused on progressive priorities.

6.    How will you handle the schism between Republicans and Democrats in Jefferson City in order to get things done?

I’ll go door-to-door throughout the capitol building relationships, and in many cases, revisit former colleagues from both sides of the aisle. This willingness to extend a hand and build working relationships is the founding principle behind any skilled attempt to overcome partisan divisions in the state legislature. Taking the time to build relationships—both sides of the aisle, up and down the ladder—is critical to moving our state forward. When I served on committees as a legislator, I was known for using data, information and education to persuade.

7.    Describe how you work with, or will work with, others to address your priorities.

I will seek out people who have interests in my priorities and build coalitions of support. I will use the powers of the office to inform, educate and persuade internal and external stakeholders to support my priorities.

8.    What particular strengths would help you defeat the Republican opponent in the November general election?

As a seasoned candidate for elected office, I’ve proven my ability to fight back when attacked by opponents while continuing to fight for Democratic ideals—I raised over $1.7 million for my 2008 congressional race. I have a strong statewide network of grassroots supporters, with my deepest base in mid-Missouri throughout the former 9th congressional district. I also have a growing base in the Kansas City and St. Louis metro areas—I lived in and worked out of Kansas City while working for HHS, and am grateful for strong support in the not-for-profit, faith-based and healthcare communities.

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