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MO8 Candidates Square Off In Local Forum

Megan Moore

Candidates vying for Missouri’s Eighth District Congressional seat squared off Thursday night at a forum hosted by the League of Women Voters and KRCU.

Democrat Steve Hodges and Republican Jason Smith were joined at the Cape Girardeau Career and Technology Center by Doug Enyart of the Constitution Party, Libertarian Bill Slantz, and Independent candidates Thomas Brown and Dr. Robert George.

The six candidates addressed their positions on balancing the budget, gun control, job growth, poverty and benefits for veterans.

When asked about how the candidates would help spur job growth in the district, Democrat Steve Hodges said he would focus on training.

“I think that there are a lot of jobs out there in our district for properly trained people,” Hodges said.  “And I speak time and time again about vocational tech centers.”

Republican Jason Smith cited a different approach.

“Government doesn’t create jobs. They can create an environment to allow jobs to prosper. What we need is less taxes, less regulation, and less litigation,” Smith said.

When candidates were asked how they would eliminate poverty in the Eighth Congressional District, Smith said he would start by preserving agricultural interests.

“The way that you create jobs and eliminate poverty is to eliminate regulations, reduce taxes, and reduce litigation,” Smith said. “If we allow our farmers to be able to farm and allow our small businesses to grow, the best way to do that is to get government off their backs, and that will turn this district around.”

Hodges believes the answer lies in education and protecting small businesses.

“Education can solve almost any problem that we have. Education and training. Now it’s true that agriculture is the economic engine of southeast Missouri, and I know that, but small business is the backbone of our economy,” Hodges said.

Full audio of the candidate forum is available here.

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