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Candidates key in on economic policy

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The candidates for Missouri’s 7th District seat in Congress are entering the home stretch before the Aug. 3 primary. In a four-week series, Springfield Business Journal introduces the men competing for the position Rep. Roy Blunt is vacating and shares their ideas for representing southwest Missouri’s businesses in Washington, D.C.

Of the 11 candidates, only three will go on to campaign until Nov. 2. One is Libertarian Kevin Craig.
Two candidates will go head-to head to represent the Democrats in the fall, and state Sen. Gary Nodler is looking to beat out seven other Republican candidates to win his party’s slot on the ballot. In this issue, SBJ talks about the role of the federal government in business with Craig and the United States’ role in a global economy with Nodler.

Kevin Craig (L)

Libertarian Kevin Craig is unconcerned about making his voice heard if he’s chosen to represent southwest Missouri as a freshman member of Congress.

“If I’m elected, I will be the first Libertarian to be elected in United States history to Congress, so my voice will be all over the place,” he said.

He plans to use that influence to promote his party’s agenda in Washington, D.C., and that, he believes, will have a positive effect on local businesses.

“The Libertarian party is the party of business,” Craig said. “The Democrat party, I think, is the anti-business party, by and large. The Republican party claims to be the pro-business party, but their past record for the last, really, 80 years has been the pro-government party.”

Though Craig currently works as a webmaster and home health care provider, has a law degree and has worked as a mediator, he said he doesn’t believe his past professional experience should qualify him to be a congressman, noting that it’s a mistake to think that Congress is better equipped to regulate and run business than the business owners themselves.

As a Libertarian, he feels his job would be to protect companies from the federal government. He favors rolling back wasteful government regulations and supports tax credits for businesses – “whatever the Congress will allow, really” – and the abolition of personal and corporate income tax.

Craig sees the Federal Reserve as the key issue affecting businesses today, noting the reserve’s creation of money distorts capital structure and sends the wrong message about the economic climate.

Spreading the word about Libertarian ideals is what Craig feels will have a long-term effect on the local economy.

“I think the central vision that capitalism and businesses are the engine of prosperity and that government is getting in the way of prosperity, that message is something that has to be brought to Washington and take root there,” he said. “That will help accelerate business growth.”

Gary Nodler (R)

Republican Gary Nodler recognizes that all the candidates for Seat 7 have similar positions on issues and many share ideologies.

Nodler, a state senator since 2002, feels his experience in the government and business sectors will set him apart from competitors.

Nodler’s professional background includes past ownership of a cable television company and a corporate consulting firm, a position as a bank director, service in state and federal government, a staff position for the U.S. Congress and four years in the executive branch of the federal government working as a regional administrator at the U.S. Small Business Administration, he said.

“I’ve got a decade of capital formation and lending expertise,” he added. “I think all those things just give me a better understanding of the national economy and the regional economy.”

That expertise and the connections he maintains in Washington, D.C., will help Nodler get off the ground running, he said, noting that the economic crisis Americans are now facing requires immediate action.

“I believe the next two to six years will determine what the economic future of the world is going to be,” he said. “The way we resolve the economic challenges of the United States really will set the course of the global economy through the rest of the 21st century.”

Among the key issues he sees as impacting southwest Missouri’s economy are the tax system – Nodler supports extension of the Bush tax cuts – and a regulatory environment in lending that is stifling access to credit.

“We need regulatory forbearance, which is a policy that was employed in the 1980s, when real estate values caused collateral to have a book value below the face value of loans,” he said. “The regulators should allow banks to use alternative valuations for the value of the loan.”

His plan to improve the local economy, he said, is already in the works.

“I intend to continue with what I’ve been doing for the past 20 years,” he said. “I’m going to continue to make the economy a priority.”[[In-content Ad]]

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