Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Response from Leonard J. Steinman II, Governor Candidate

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? 

Knowledge of what is happening not only on a state level, but also on local, national and international levels. One key attribute needed for this position is to be able to see all sides of an issue not just one politician party or concern and how a decision will affect all. Another would be the ability to put personal concerns and issues aside and work for the betterment of all not just some.

My varied life experiences, I feel make me qualified for this position. I have held various employment positions and lived in numerous other states. I have actual knowledge of the pressures and concerns of the “common” working person since I have been one of them.

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

I have proudly served our state and country as a member of the Missouri National Guard and the United States Navy. As a disabled American veteran, I see and understand the needs and concerns of our military (past and present) as well as the needs and concerns of their families that need to be addressed. Through my disability, I see the needs and concerns that need to be addressed for our state’s disabled citizens.

I have been a small business owner, a field worker, member of several trade unions, factory worker and various other positions including being a fast food worker during my life time. The only way you can truly understand and appreciate the concerns of the working class (the backbone of our state and nation) and our military is to have actual been one of them.

I am a firm believer in protecting the present, while remembering the past and not sacrificing the future. The decisions that we make not only effect the present but the future that we will be leaving to our children and their children on into the future.

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)

Some of the most pressing issues of this office are the expansion of Medicaid, making higher education more affordable for Missouri’s children (our future leaders), employment opportunities that provide more than just a living wage for our citizens and training opportunities for them to be able to advance in their careers or jobs.

By the expansion of the Medicaid program, in the long term, it would be more cost effective. Persons that need medical care will be able to receive that medical care. When persons who do not have any type of health insurance be it Medicaid or private insurance need medical care, it causes the price of medical to rise for all as the doctors and hospitals have to bear the cost of providing that medical care. The expansion of the Medicaid program would ease the cost of the tax payers in the long term.

By making higher education more affordable to our citizens, it would not only ease the burden and pressure on the students but their parents as well. The high cost of a college education, leaves the student graduating with a debt that will take them years to repay and because of this fact, enrollment in our colleges is decreasing at an alarming rate. Today, a college education for most students is just a dream not a reality. We need to be able to make it a reality not just a dream.

Employers could at very little cost to them, and actually could be tax advantage to the employer to provide on the job training programs. It would be a win – win situation for the employee and the employer. The prospective employee is trained for a position while earning an income and the employer has an employee who will become a value addition to the company. It could also reduce the turn over problem and promote employee retention with an employer who also offers an opportunity for future and current employees to better themselves and their stations in life while staying with the employer.

4. What are your plans to increase the number of jobs in Missouri?

By researching what types of businesses and/or corporations will be the best fit for the citizens of Missouri. Bigger is not always better. You first need to make sure that the resources are a good fit for the corporations and businesses to relocate to Missouri. This means are the locations available suitable for both parties. What type of incentives or concessions would they require they require to come to Missouri? In the past, we have given tax incentives and other concessions to businesses to relocate to Missouri and they have not honored their end of the commitment and left the tax payers of Missouri to bear the burden. This cannot continue. We also need to develop training programs that will produce skilled employees for the businesses that we are trying to entice to come to Missouri. This would be a key bargaining chip in negations if a skilled work force that fit their needs was readily available. We do not want to give away the farm to be just left with only a barn and nothing to show for it.

5. What are your priorities for education? 

To encourage and promote “Parents as Teachers.” The beginning of a lifelong love of learning begins in the home. To assist and better equip our teachers in the ever changing world of education. We not only need to learn our history, but need to focus on the present and future as well. We need to provide our teachers with the most update and current teaching materials available. This is not an expense, but an investment in our children’s future and the future of our state. We need to do whatever is needed to bring Missouri to the forefront and been seen as a leader in the education of its children.

Another priority would be finding ways to make higher education available to all of Missouri’s children.

Promoting programs to stress the importance of education on a local, state and national level.

Developing and encouraging volunteers to assist children in the primary and secondary levels of education to ensure their success.

6. What will you do to improve the general public’s impression of the political and legislative process in Jefferson City, in response to the deeply partisan battles of the past several years? How will you address the schism between Republicans and Democrats?

By inviting the public to view the legislative process in action. I have run for various offices as both a Democrat and a Republican. I attend Tea Part meetings. I have the capacity to see all sides of an issue and look beyond my personal point of view on the issue. It is important to remember that neither side is right or wrong. I would address the schism between Republicans and Democrats by strongly reminding both sides that they are there to represent the citizens of Missouri. They need to act like adults and be respectful of one another’s point of view on an issue. They can discuss issues in a calm and adult manner without all of the childish nonsense. We would not tolerate that type of behavior by our children, and they need to be mindful that they are our leaders and setting an example for others.

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

I would calmly and rationally discuss my priorities with all concerned. I would openly welcome their input and suggestions. By calmly discussing the priorities, I am positive that a solution could be obtained to the satisfaction of all. I will not comprise myself, or my values in order to have a priority that I consider important to be accomplished. I am a firm believer in the phrase “To one’s own self be true.”

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

One of my strengths is that I have seen both party systems in action. I am a firm believer that the needs of all citizens of Missouri strongly outweigh the needs of one political party or special interest group. I believe in the phrase “United We Stand, Divided We Fall.” A house divided has no chance of success, by coming together as one, we will be able to meet the needs of all and protect our future for those yet come into this world.

I look at all sides of an issue or problem. I LISTEN to all concerned and then try and figure out a solution for the betterment of all concerned. I think with my brain, but also listen to my heart.

9. Who are your 3 largest campaign contributors? Do you have a policy on accepting lobbyist gifts? Are there donors from whom you will not accept campaign contributions?

My three (3) largest campaign contributors to date are very simple, me, myself and I. My policy on accepting gifts from lobbyists is also very simple – No. I will not be bought and paid for by special interest groups that only want to further their own agenda regardless of the will of the people or if it is good or not good for the citizens of Missouri. The only special interest groups in my opinion that I will tirelessly work for and represent are the citizens of our great state.

10. The Ferguson Commission has over 100 calls to action as a result of its year long community engagement process. However, very few of the commission’s recommendations have been taken up by the General Assembly or Governor. If elected, what will you do to ensure that racial justice receives the attention needed at a state level?

If elected, any issues involving racial justice will take the highest priority. If the General Assembly will not address the issues, I will make certain that the office of the Governor will address these issues and concerns.

Racial justice is justice for us all. It is not for just one race, religion, national origin or political belief. We are all different, this is a true fact, but we are also one family as well, “The Family of Man.” A racial injustice against one is a racial injustice against all. We need to stand as one against racial injustice.

All of the recommendations from the Ferguson Commission should have been addressed by both the General Assembly and the Office of the Governor. To allow these recommendations and concerns to be unheard and not addressed is in itself a form of racial injustice.

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