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Politics
0000017b-27e8-d2e5-a37b-7fffd9f70000On November 8, Missourians chose their next governor, determined races for U.S. congressional seats and several for the Missouri statehouse. In addition, voters decided among five proposed changes to the Missouri constitution.See the election results here, and view our coverage below on the local candidates and issues. Post election, we're continuing to add to our coverage with related content.

MO House District 135 Candidates Discuss Education, Healthcare, the Environment and More

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Libertarian David Carr, Republican Steve Helms, Democrat Randy Alberhasky, Candidates for House District 135

Voters in the Missouri House of Representatives District 135 will choose a new person to represent them when they go to the polls on November 8.  Lincoln Hough, who served in that position since 2010, left to run for the office of Greene County Commission in the 2nd District, which is currently held by Roseanne Bentley.

The 135th House District encompasses a large portion of eastern Springfield.

Missouri House District 135
Credit Missouri House of Representatives
Missouri House District 135

Each of the candidates for the office has varied reasons why he thinks he would make the best choice for voters.

Republican Steve Helms said what sets him apart from his opponents, Democrat Randy Alberhasky and Libertarian David Carr, is not only his experience in local government (he served six years as the Greene County Circuit Clerk) but also his "track record of doing what I said I was going to do."  He believes his views on economics will propel Missouri to the future.

Alberhasky said the fact that he's not a career politician makes him a good choice for voters along with his passion for the community and for policy.  His background in economics (he studied the subject in undergraduate school) and his interest in "the efficiency of government and of our economy" also sets him apart, he said, as well as his 20 years practicing law in Springfield.

Carr said he feels he's the best choice because he wants to find out what constituents and businesses want and need and then work to best represent those ideas.   "The reason a representative goes up there is not because they have a list of things they think needs to be done," he said.  And he wants to make sure government is transparent.  He would make sure constituents know why a bill is moving forward and why he does or doesn't support it.

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Interview with Democratic District 135 Candidate Randy Alberhasky

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Interview with Libertarian District 135 Candidate David Carr

Background

Libertarian David Carr

Carr, who lived in Ozark for 15 years before moving to Springfield two years ago, is married with four children.  He works as a real estate agent and is starting a carpet cleaning company.  "I try to keep myself busy," he said. 

Carr worked as an intern for Missouri Senator Bob Dixon in 2015, which is where he said he got his greater interest in politics, though he's always been "interested in government and how cities are managed and how states are managed." 

Democrat Randy Alberhasky

Alberhasky has been a lawyer in Springfield for 20 years and owns his own business "helping workers and their families."  He's a dad to five kids ranging in age from 11 to 30-years-old.  Alberhasky has been involved in the community as a pack leader for Rountree Cub Scouts Pack 11 and has served on the board of St. Joseph's Catholic Academy.

Republican Steve Helms

Helms was born in N. Carolina, raised in Florida and joined the Army, which brought him to Springfield in 1993.  He's been married to his wife, Virginia, for 28 years and has three children.  Helms said he's been self-employed most of his time in Springfield.  He served six years as Greene County Circuit Clerk. 

Issues Most Important to the Candidates

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Credit Steve Helms
Republican District 135 Candidate Steve Helms

Steve Helms says in talking to voters door to door he's found that the most pressing issues are "our lackluster economy, the high cost of healthcare and not getting the best outcomes in our education system."

He said he'll work to grow the state's economy by reducing "unnecessary government bureaucracy, implementing tort reform and other systemic policy changes that keep businesses from considering Missouri as a place to move or expand." 

His ideas for reducing healthcare costs include implementing more market reforms, including transparency in pricing and allowing insurance companies to cross state lines.

Helms believes in local control in education.  "Teachers, parents, and the local administration know best what our kids need, rather than a top-down program that forces teachers to teach to the test."  He said the state's job is to provide funding and general oversight "not micromanage local schools."

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Credit Randy Alberhasky
Democratic District 135 Candidate Randy Alberhasky

Randy Alberhasky is a big advocate for education.  "We've been letting funding slide for education for the last 15 years, and I think we're starting to see the results of that in terms of the economy and even crime rates," he said.  He believes we're getting a negative return from what he calls the negative investment the state is making in education.  "We need to increase funding, he said."  "I realize it's not going to happen overnight...but that's first and foremost where we need to go--our investment in our kids."

He plans to work to make healthcare more affordable for veterans.  And he wants to make sure there's local healthcare for veterans so they don't have to travel to other places to get that care for themselves and their families.  "Something we can all agree on," he said, "is our veterans need that care.  They deserve it, they've earned it.  Let's give it to them."

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Credit David Carr
Libertarian District 135 Candidate David Carr

Libertarian David Carr said education is an issue of importance to him, but he's not talking about education for school children, although he said that's important, too.  He wants to help the public understand politics so they're more involved.  "We need to make sure we have the politically educated population so...we can actually choose leaders that will make the laws that we want," he said.

He feels important issues facing Missouri are Right to Work and making the state more inviting to businesses.  He wants to look at laws currently on the books and see if they need to "be taken off the books."  He'd like to study the tax code to see if reforms should be made and there are any loopholes that should be closed "so we can get more money back to the businesses and to the people." 

He also feels we need to increase the income of Missourians so they can spend money on things they need.

Medicaid Expansion

David Carr said he doesn't want to see government programs expanded until all other options are investigated.  He's not against government programs like Medicaid, he said, but he feels other options might be better.  Those include increasing income.   "That's why I talk about looking at the tax code, looking at getting the state more business-friendly so we can actually have people making more money and getting the businesses that can actually give them that benefit or give them enough money that they can go out and get their own health insurance," he said.

Randy Alberhasky supports Medicaid expansion, especially for Missouri veterans and their families, older workers and college students.  "Not every veteran is entitled to care through the Veterans Administration," he said.  "People don't always understand that."  He said providing healthcare for Missourians without health insurance would allow them to work and pay taxes and prevent the loss of "more local small town hospitals like OCH."

Steve Helms said, although Medicaid expansion "is a very big issue," Missouri's can't currently afford it.  "There's a lot of things we would have to seriously look at before we would be able to expand Medicaid," he said.

Missouri's Infrastructure Needs

Randy Alberhasky said Missouri not only needs to look at the needs of its roads and bridges and how to meet those needs but also at other modes of transportation, including greenways.  He points to the gas tax, which he said hasn't been changed since the early 1990s.  "And, in fact, when you take into account the increased mileage the cars get...we're actually collecting less in real terms that we did in the 90s, so I think that's someplace we need to increase our investment," he said.

David Carr said he's OK with people paying more for roads and bridges, but he's not sure what the best way to increase funding is.  "The good thing about a gas tax is it just goes straight into bridges and roads," he said.  But he wants to look at all options, including taking certain departments out of the Missouri Department of Transportation, toll roads and user fees.  "We do need good infrastructure," he said.  "We need the ability to move goods in our state."

Steve Helms said before raising taxes legislators need to first look at making sure that every bit of waste has been eliminated.  But he said, "I think MODOT does a great job, and I think that well is running dry as far as what we can cut out."  He knows more funds are needed, and he'd like to do that by growing the economy.  "I think that's the answer to most of our other problems because when it comes down to it, whether it's education, healthcare, roads and bridges, it's about finding new dollars," he said.

The Environment

Steve Helms said he's "very concerned" that we need to leave the environment better than we found it."  He calls himself an urban farmer and he has chickens and a garden, "so I think it's very important that we leave that legacy to our kids."  But he said there's a way to be a good steward without destroying Missouri's economy.  "When we exponentially raise the cost of utilities, when we make life difficult for businesses to expand and grow, we're also hurting the most vulnerable in our community," he said.

Randy Alberhasky is concerned with City Utilities' plan to build a basin for their coal byproducts.  "I think it's...a bad idea for us to put coal byproducts that are bad for the environment in places where they don't belong," he said.  "Our waterways here in Springfield are our greatest treasure, and we can't afford to risk those."

David Carr said he supports green technology and looking for ways to reduce carbon emissions.  But he said the government forcing standards on people is "a dangerous road to go down."  According to Carr, "we need to make sure that we aren't stifling innovation or trying to force things on the people too rapidly."  He feels Missouri does "a pretty good job already" taking care of environmental concerns.

Funding as of September 30, 2016

The two major party candidates are neck and neck in fundraising.  Steve Helms was actively fundraising during the Primary Election, and as of September 30, has $83,547.  Randy Alberhasky had $86,385 since September 30.  No campaign financial data was available for David Carr.

For more information about each candidate:

David Carr: lpmo.org

Steve Helms: www.stevehelms.net

Randy Alberhasky:  www.randyalberhasky.com

The candidates for House Districts 135 and 132 will take part in a candidate forum, hosted by the League of Women Voters of Southwest Missouri and Community Partnership of the Ozarks, Thursday November 3 from 6 to 8 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 525 South Ave.