Boone County candidate forum focuses on civil liberties and civil rights

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COLUMBIA – The Missouri Civil Liberties Association (MOCLA) hosted a forum focused on civil liberties and civil rights issues Thursday night for several Boone County candidates.

Chairman of MOCLA Dan Viets said this specific kind of forum was needed.

"We organized this forum to focus on issues related to civil liberties and civil rights because we think those are very important issues and don't always get attention from those candidates at the typical candidate forum," Viets said.

The participants included candidates for the following positions: Associate commissioner District 2 Janet Thompson (D); associate commissioner District 2 Brenndan Riddles (R); associate commissioner District 1 Brianna Lennon (D); state representative District 44 Tom Pauley (D); state representative District 44 Cheri Toalson Reisch (R); state representative District 45 William Lee (IND); state representative District 46 Don Waterman (R); state treasurer Sean O’Toole (LIB); state treasurer Judy Baker (D); U.S. representative District 4 Gordon Christensen (D).

KFRU host David Lile was the moderator for the forum.

The candidates answered questions on a range of topics including racial profiling, freedom of expression, right to bear arms, removing the ichthus from a Courthouse Plaza war memorial in 2014 and legalizing medical marijuana.

The first question every candidate answered was, "Why did you participate in this forum?"

Janet Thompson, associate commissioner District 2 candidate, said the forum is her grassroots.

"I was a public defender, and it's important to help maintain people's constitutional rights," she said. 

Her opponent, Brenndan Riddles, said he attended because he was invited.

The audience was also encouraged to ask questions. Most asked about legalizing medical marijuana and how candidates can help improve the economy.

Mid-Missouri NORML, Boone County Libertarians and Race Matters, Friends co-sponsored the event.