October 31, 2012 - Four candidates are vying for the 2nd Distict Congressional seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Todd Akin in Tuesday's election.
Democrat Glenn Koenen, Republican Ann Wagner, Libertarian candidate Bill Slantz and Constitution Party candidate Anatol Zorikova are seeking the 2nd District congressional seat.
Koenen narrowly prevailed over three other candidates in the August Democratic primary, while Wagner defeated three other candidates in
the Republican primary.
Asked to identify the most important issue in the race, candidates gave the following response:
Koenen said, "The continuing economic crisis is the greatest challenge we now face. Too many people are unemployed or underemployed. Median household income has plummeted in recent years, with Missourians falling $100 a week below the national median. Business people and consumers fear these uncertain times. Leadership in Washington has placed brinksmanship ahead of progress."
Zorikora said, "Individual freedom, free higher education, jobs creation."
Wagner and Slantz did not respond to a Call questionnaire.
Koenen, 55, 2417 England Town Road, Oakville, and his wife, Peggy, have one child. Koenen is a retired executive director of Circle of Concern.
Koenen said he is seeking office to "work for the good of all families."
Zorikora, Lebanon, and her husband, Alex, have one child. Zorikora is a programmer.
She said she is seeking office to "fight corruption."
Koenen and Zorikora gave the following responses to a Call questionnaire:
What is your position on abortion?
Zorikora said, "I am pro-life."
Koenen said, "I am personally against abortion but it is the law of the land. Nearly 40 years after Roe v. Wade, it is obvious that the courts will not change their position and very many citizens tolerate — if not support — access to abortion."
What is your position on the death penalty?
Zorikora said, "I will support the death penalty."
Koenen said, "I am against the death penalty. It hasn't been shown to stop crime and the risk of executing innocent people is not acceptable."
How do you propose to solve the problems facing social security? Do you favor privatizing social security?
Zorikora said, "No."
Koenen said, "The core Social Security program — old-age retirement — is not in dreadful shape. If the 2-percent payroll tax 'holiday' ended, Social Security would have another $90 billion each year. Albert Pujols should pay more: The income cap should be raised from $110,000 per year to $250,000 a year, followed by $500,000 and $1 million a year. Benefits can also be raised for those paying these higher rates.
"I am against privatizing Social Security. As every investor should know, 'Past returns are not indicative of future results.' Had the program been privatized prior to the 2008-2009 meltdown, millions of seniors would have seen their income melt away."
Are tougher gun control laws needed? If so, what do you propose? If not, why?
Zorikora said, "I support (the) Second Amendment. We do not need tougher gun control."
Koenen said, "Existing laws need to be enforced, especially prosecution of those possessing stolen guns. Tougher laws will not, unfortunately, deter criminals."
What do you propose to solve funding problems facing public education? Do you support school vouchers?
Zorikora said, "Rebalance the budget, bring money to education from stopping financial aid to foreign countries, stopping undeclared wars, stopping bailing out banks and corporations."
Koenen said, "Unfortunately, the federal government does not have the money to significantly help local schools. This will remain a state and local issue. I do feel that Missouri's Foundation Formula cheats 'hold-harmless' districts, such as many in the 2nd Congressional District.
"I cannot support vouchers because the federal government can't afford to give away a lot of money, and, at the state level, vouchers would undoubtedly result in severe cuts in funding to public schools."
What can be done to stabilize the cost of gasoline to citizens? Should we explore alternative energy sources?
Zorikora said, "In Europe, cars are running today up to 150 (to) 300 miles per gallon. In the USA, these cars banned from being sold. Why? We have to develop innovative technologies that benefit the people instead of profiting corporations."
Koenen said, "In the short term, American consumers are at the mercy of the oil cartel. To help stabilize costs government can:
• "Reduce the number of 'summer blends' from 70-plus to a handful or less, making the market more competitive;
• "Maintain and expand the strategic reserves to blunt spikes in the market;
• "Work with the auto industry to keep increasing corporate mileage rates for cars and all other vehicles.
"We should continue to work on getting more of our energy from renewable sources — especially hydroelectric production in Missouri and other areas where that is an option. I feel our biggest 'alternative energy source' is conservation and efficiency."
What do you propose to ease the tax burden on working families?
Zorikora said, "More tax credits, lower income tax, tax up to 75 percent on the wealthiest and earned income exceeding $1 million."
Koenen said, "First and foremost, we cannot raise taxes on the 95-percent-plus of families making $250,000 a year or less. Unfortunately, with a $16 trillion deficit, further ways to help families make ends meet are limited."
What measures, if any, will you propose to encourage economic development in this area?
Zorikora said, "Stop outsourcing jobs, develop small business, organic farming, establish free market."
Koenen said, "Employers who create full-time jobs with benefits paying reasonable wages — $15 per hour and up — should receive government support. Part-time, low-wage jobs should get no support. I have no objection to the federal government providing very low-cost bonds to states and local governments to finance infrastructure or job sites — such as the former auto plant in Fenton. Existing resources, such as the community colleges, should be used to provide job-specific training and other support to the work force."
Are you concerned that efforts to increase homeland security could infringe on our constitutional rights?
Zorikora said, "Yes, I believe that people have to control their own life, in oppose to controlling government that covers dictatorship under name of 'security.'"
Koenen said, "The impossible quest for total security has already seriously degraded our rights. We tell glorified rent-a-cops why we want to get on an airplane."
What is your stance on the Affordable Health Care for America Act?
Zorikora said, "I believe that 'Obamacare' is unconstitutional and must be repealed. Nobody can force people to buy health insurance."
Koenen said, "The ACA is a necessary first step. It will help many millions of Americans get — or keep — access to medical care. It is not a perfect system. I give it a C+. It will slow the growth in the cost of health care by reducing uncompensated care.
"I feel that the nation needs to work, over the next two or three decades, toward a single-payer plan based on Medicare.
"This is not as radical a change as it might seem. In Missouri, more than one-third of the population — 900,000-plus on Medicare, 930,000-plus on Medicaid, plus federal workers and retirees, military and veterans — already have the federal government paying all or most of the cost of their care."
Do you believe the American Recovery Reinvestment has been successful?
Zorikora said, "No, it was not successful. another measures that described in my platform at www.zorkovaforcongress.com could be done."
Koenen said, "If we grade the ARRA on a curve, it passes. It saved Wall Street, but did not stop the erosion of thousands of jobs in the 2nd Congressional District. While it kept Chrysler alive, the Fenton plant still died. It allowed Jefferson City to survive without devastating cuts in education and other basic services. The 'shovel-ready jobs,' alas, barely materialized. "Note that work on Eads Bridge touted as 'ready' is just getting started years after the funds were allocated. The money pumped into the economy, I feel, probably prevented a bad recession from becoming a depression. The idea was good but the execution was poor."