KANSAS CITY - KOMU 8 News sat down with Republican gubernatorial candidate Monday as part of our Smart Decision 2012 election series.
Randles is currently a Kansas City resident who is new to state politics.
Although he doesn't have political experience, Randles said he has a wide variety of skills and work experience, which make him qualified for governor.
What qualifications do you have for running for governor?
"You mean the standards for running, basically or just my standards?"
"I think it's important to have a person who's had a broad range of experience. I grew up in a trailer park, I've been a pastor, an attorney, a businessman...and I think it's also really important to have a vision for where you want the state to go because if you don't have a vision, there's really nowhere to lead, and you need to have a contrast with the current governor and I think I do."
What would you say your vision for the state would be?
"My vision is... the problem we're facing in the state and the nation today is a loss of freedom. Government at every level is intruding into our business and crushing our ability to create. So I've outlined a plan for restoring individual freedom for folks and individual business owners, churches, the ordinary citizens."
What do you think the biggest problems are that Missouri is currently facing?
"I think that all the problems grow out of this overwhelming government wait. But, we're rated one of the least friendly business states in the nation because the rules for doing business here are so oppressive. Our labor rules, our litigation, our regulatory tax environment. So we have to confront all of those to really turn the state around."
How would you plan on doing that?
"Well, four key steps I think are important. One, you have to become a right to work state. Only the right to work states are growing in jobs. You have to have comprehensive regulatory reform. You have to have comprehensive judicial reform including a loser pays tort system. We have one of the most hostile to business judiciaries in the country, and it just got worse two weeks ago when they struck down the tort damage caps. Finally, we have to get rid of the income tax and go to a sales tax."
So get rid of all income tax?
"Yes, I think that the income tax is a great deterrence to business. Jay Nixon has a policy of giving out tax credits to preferred businesses. Well, it hasn't worked of course because when politicians pick winners and losers they always fail. But, if tax breaks are important to some businesses coming to Missouri, why aren't they important to everybody?"
Living so close to Kansas, do some businesses end up going to Kansas instead on Missouri?
"Yes, we see a ton of businesses going to Kansas because they are so much more business friendly. We see it in every area including medicine. A lot of doctors are relocating to Kansas because they have a much better litigation environment. It's almost impossible to get punitive damages over there, the cost of insuring is so much lower there. So, the wounds we have to our economy in Missouri are self-inflicted through bad policy. We can fix them with good policy."
Could you tell me a little bit about some of the other main points you're running on?
"I think it's important to restore to government some incentives to actually serve the public. I'm interested in putting government employees on deadlines, so if you have to file a form, they have to respond in a certain amount of time. I'm interested in building in incentives in for government employees to save money, instead of spend more money. I want to get rid of honorus business licensing requirements and barriers to entry. I'm a big fan of choice in education. I think our schools are the way we take care of the next generation and our current school systems, especially in the urban areas are a disaster. I want to put power back in parent's hands."
As far as the schooling goes, how would you change the school system?
"We currently have an education monopoly in Missouri, in particular in our two urban areas, it just doesn't work. We throw money at it for decades and they just get worse. What I want to do is put vouchers in parent's hands and let them decide where their kids should be educated. Whether public schools, private schools, religious schools, technical schools or homeschooling. Once we put some competition in the market, the product will improve."
As far as the other candidates, what do you think puts you apart from them?
"I think a clear vision for where we want to go and a plan to get there. You won't hear the breadth of these issues from any other candidate and you won't hear a clear commitment from them on these hard issues. You know, we're past the point where we can just do business as usual in Missouri, we need a really bold, fresh vision and I think that's what I offer."
You said you've been working on this campaign for 20 months, can you tell me a little about that?
"We started early on because I'm a political outsider, so you have to take the time to get to know folks. So, we've been going around the state for 20 months. We've done 408 campaign events, put more than 80,000 miles on my vehicle, spoken to thousands, tens of thousands of Missourians about these issues. I think we've built up a tremendous grassroots network and a lot of excitement about our campaign."
Do you have anything else you'd like to add?
"I'd like to encourage all of your viewers to go out and vote tomorrow, August 7th. Ask for a Republican ballot and mark Bill Randles."