Election forum attracts large Columbia crowd

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Public Library "Friends Room" was anything but quiet as a panel of state representative candidates debated and discussed concerns there Wednesday evening.

Rep. Caleb Rowden (R-Mo.), Rep. John Wright (D-Mo.) and candidates Tom Pauley and Chuck Basye sat on a panel to address questions the audience had about topics like education, lobbyist gifts and road work.

Proposed amendment three was a heavy topic of conversation. It says teachers would be evaluated based on student progress and academic success. The representatives all spoke against the amendment becoming a reality, including Basye, who said he thinks it's unfair. 

"To have those teachers accountable for that situation is just not right," Basye said. "So we need to find another way."

Another hot button issue was whether it is acceptable for state representatives to accept gifts from lobbyists outside of their $35,000 salary. Wright said representatives should sign a pledge to not accept the gifts.

"I believe we need to join the dozen of other states that have completed bans on lobbyist gifts," he said.  "It's felony bribery if a public official accepts the gift in exchange for a vote."

The panel also discussed how to take care and rebuild Missouri roads. Rowden said toll roads could potentially be introduced, specifically on Interstate 70 . 

A second forum is set for Thursday, October 23 at 6 p.m. and is open to the public. 

A crowd gathers for a League of Women Voters election forum at the Columbia Public Library on Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014, in Columbia, Missouri. The panel of candidates from Missouri's 44th and 47th district discussed their platform and answered questions from the League of Women Voters. (KOMU/Kaileen Gaul)

Joyce Snow takes notes at a League of Women Voters forum at the Columbia Public Library on Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014, in Columbia, Missouri. The panel of candidates from Missouri's 44th and 47th district discussed their platform and answered questions from the League of Women Voters. (KOMU/Kaileen Gaul)

Rep. Caleb Rowden, R-Mo., discusses his opposition on allowing state representatives to receive gifts from lobbyists at a forum held by the League of Women Voters at the Columbia Public Library on Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014, in Columbia, Missouri. Rowden and Rep. John Wright, D-Mo., will run for re-election on Nov. 4. (KOMU/Kaileen Gaul)

 

 

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