District 130 Candidates on Balancing Citizens’ Urban and Rural Concerns
Over the past four years, Missouri House District 130 has been represented by Jeff Messenger, a Republican and an entrepreneur who lives in Republic. This November, his reelection campaign is against Democrat Ella Jane Goeppinger from Willard.
District 130 makes up most of the western half of Greene County including the communities of Ash Grove, Republic, Walnut Grove and Willard. Whoever represents this district has the task of balancing city life and metropolitan businesses with urban life and agriculture.
Messenger is a former farmer and current business owner, presently working in the prosthetics and orthotics business. He believes he knows what it takes to balance the district and make both aspects thrive. Messenger says the district is an accurate representation of the state of Missouri and believes that whatever helps the state will in turn help the district. He has lived in the Springfield area for over 50 years. Messenger and his wife have two sons.
Goeppinger, who is originally from Houston, Texas, says she has become immersed in the community since moving here less than five years ago and feels right at home. She lives on her husband’s family farm in Willard with their daughter. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science in nursing at Ozarks Technical Community College.
“I’m part of a working family, my background is in nonprofit work, and I’m in the midst of a career change, so I understand what a lot of families in my district are going through,” she said.
Goeppinger says what challenges families the most is a lack of financial resources and healthcare coverage. If elected, Goeppinger said she will work to expand access to healthcare, specifically Medicaid.
“If we accepted the money that citizens of Missouri are sending to the federal government with every paycheck, to expand our Medicaid programs, it would be an increase in net revenue for the state of $100 million,” she said.
Messenger says that while in office there has been a push to reduce the price of Medicaid, but that doesn’t mean he’s not opposed to different options. He wants to find a way in which it doesn’t negatively impact tax payers who aren’t using the system.
“One of the things that I’m recommending if we do expand Medicaid, is that the people that we take on in the expansion, which is 138 percent of the federal poverty level, get charged a premium to offset the expansion and growth within the system,” he said.
The candidates addressed both the blend of urban and suburban lifestyle that makes the area unique.
Messenger said that during his four years in office, the state has received over $600 million in additional revenue, but it spent every penny.
If reelected, he hopes to motivate the state to be better stewards of revenue. He believes that any additional revenue spent by district citizens should be given back to the taxpayers.
“One of the things I want to work on is reducing the size of government, and not so much personnel, but in expenditures,” he said.
Goeppinger says she wants to improve the logistical issues of living in District 130.
“I’d really like to work on the infrastructure,” she said. “People in my district spend so much time in their car driving to Springfield and back and it takes money out of everybody’s pockets the way our roads tear up cars.”
Goeppinger expresses concern with the lack of funding for Greene County schools. According to her, the state of Missouri is underfunding our 820,000 K-12 students by $400 million under the statutorily required level.
She believes that all of the children in Missouri deserve an opportunity to thrive. She wants to work with legislators to increase state funding at the same rate as inflation to, in turn, decrease the disparities in the education system in districts with low property values.
Messenger is dedicated to the growth and opportunity of small business.
According to the National Federation of Independent Business, Messenger has a 100 percent voting record on issues that affect small business during his tenure in office.
He said that his professional business experience will benefit Missouri’s financial planning.
Funding (As of Sept 30):
Messenger is out fundraising Geoppinger more than 2-to-1, with $11,625 raised as of Sept. 30. Geoppinger shows just under $5,000 raised.
Ella Jane Goeppinger: www.ellajanegoeppinger.com/
Jeff Messenger: www.jeffmessenger.us.com