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Long's auction business must go on the block

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Billy Long knew when he threw his hat into the ring that this could happen.

Item 3 in the U.S. House of Representatives Code of Conduct has forced one of southwest Missouri’s largest and oldest auction companies to be placed up for sale.

The 31-year auctioneer and owner of Billy Long Auctions LLC, who will take U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt’s 7th District Congressional seat, is faced with having to sell the business that is similar to the ones he’s vowed to represent in office.

Because his business is considered fiduciary, Long cannot hold the office of U.S. Representative and own the business simultaneously.

Long was among 20 U.S. small-business owners elected to Congress on Nov. 2, according to Washington, D.C.-based National Federation of Independent Businesses.

Long defeated Democrat Scott Eckersley and Libertarian Kevin Craig for the seat held by Blunt, who won the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Kit Bond.

Possible buyers
Long learned in January that he’d have to sell the business if he won. He’ll learn more on an orientation visit in Washington, D.C., this week, Long said.

“They go over all of your holdings and companies and tell you what you have to sell and don’t sell. It’s considered a fiduciary business, and they told me I would have to liquidate it,” Long said.

“We’re looking for a buyer. Everybody’s a possibility,” Long said. “We’ve talked to a couple of people, but nothing solid, nothing in the offing right away.”

Bob Kollmeier, vice president of Billy Long Auctions, has worked there for 28 years and could be considered a front-runner.

“We’ve had some discussion,” Kollmeier said. “I haven’t had time to think about it.”
Kollmeier said he plans to continue as an auctioneer in his current position or elsewhere.

“I haven’t purchased the company yet – it’s for sale and I don’t know that he’s talked to anybody. There’s nothing in writing or anything firm right now,” Kollmeier said.

“I know there’s going to have to be some changes made.”

Long said he has thought about his company’s worth and the amount he’ll seek, but he declined to disclose either.

Worth the price of admission
Long maintains his convictions for seeking the seat outweigh having to sell his business.

“Oh, definitely – we have to change the course of this country, and we have to get a business mentality up there,” Long said. “You can’t tax your way to prosperity and legislate and regulate your way to prosperity. You can’t force people to do things that they don’t want to do like buy health insurance, so yes, it was definitely the right decision to run.”

Long also said the current regulations discourage many from seeking office.  

“It’s a very unfortunate way they’ve set it up,” Long said. “It sure slows people down wanting to run for Congress if they do own and operate a fiduciary business.”

Brad Jones, Missouri director for the National Federation of Independent Businesses, agrees with Long.

“That’s pretty un-American, it sounds like,” Jones said. “We are supposed to be a citizen legislature.”

Long said he’ll play by the rules.

“I’m not saying I agree with the rules, but I will abide by them,” Long said.[[In-content Ad]]

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