State house candidates for 50th district discuss issues at forum

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COLUMBIA - The candidates for the Missouri House of Representatives 50th district discussed a wide-range of issues at a candidate forum hosted by the Columbia Chamber of Commerce Thursday. 

That included jobs, how to make Boone County a more attractive business environment and taxes. 

The forum was the only event that would feature both candidates, Republican Sara Walsh and Democrat Michela Skelton.

Walsh and Skelton are vying for the house seat vacated by Republican Caleb Jones, who resigned to become Gov. Eric Greitens deputy chief of staff. 

Skelton drew on her background growing up in a military family in a community in rural Alabama. Skelton said she felt Boone County had the same tight-knit community feel. 

Walsh emphasized her background growing up in rural Missouri, and the work ethic she learned from her parents. 

When the candidates were asked what their first piece of legislation in office would be, they both focused on business. 

Skelton said her first legislation would support fair wages and and business practices for workers. 

Walsh said she would support fair prices for consumers to benefit the economy, and wages for workers to ensure families aren't living pay check to pay check. 

Taxes were also on the agenda.

Walsh repeatedly emphasized that she would be "a good steward of the people's tax dollars." When asked about tax cuts from 2014 that will soon be phased in, Walsh said "it's your money," and said she believed that the people know best how to spend their money. 

Skelton talked about greater tax cuts for wealthy families, asking "What is it taking out of our local community?" 

The special election will be held Aug. 8.