What troubles Missouri citizens?
Comentary by Missouri Rep. Ed Emery
(R-126 including the counties of Barton, Dade, Jasper and Polk)
Almost 400 of you responded to my recent constituent questionnaire. Your answers have been compiled, and this report will describe some of the answers. Overall, suggestions were both responsible and sincere.
What is the greatest threat to Missouri’s future? Out of a wide variety of responses 4 concerns were most frequently mentioned. These follow in the order of their frequency:
- Morals & family breakdown
- High taxes
How to reduce government size? Only 6% of respondents thought government is “about the right size.” Two thirds suggested combining some agencies & programs. Half liked reducing the size of the legislature if there is a clear financial benefit. That preference dropped in half if the financial benefit is not clear. This preference is not surprising when we consider that almost a third of those surveyed see government as the state’s biggest threat.
Proposals to shrink the legislature have been considered in past legislative sessions, but the benefits are hard to quantify. The principal opposition to reducing the legislature is the loss of representation for individual Missourians. A recent proposal to reduce from 163 to 102 House districts would increase district size from 34,000 citizens to 57,000 per district. The geographic areas of most districts would approximately double. If such an action is taken, it would be structured to take place during a census year to accommodate redistricting.
Toll Roads? Replies were opposed to toll roads by 57% with just over 33% supporting Missouri toll roads and 10% having no opinion. I have been approached by those vigorously supporting toll roads and others just as vigorously opposed, so I was watching this issue carefully. Amendment 4, approved by voters last year, has helped Missouri’s roads, but this is a question worth watching.
Stem Cell Research? Voter responses indicate that our district is staying up with this issue and understands the difference between adult stem cells and embryonic stem cell (SCNT or cloning or “early stem cell”). Preferences were almost the same with 66% opposing embryonic research and 66% supporting adult cell research. Sixty percent (60%) of replies favored a state ban on cloning.
This has been a volatile issue, largely because of the confusion being introduced by the institutional supporters of cloning such as Stowers Institute in Kansas City. However, only 11% of those responding to the survey would not specify a position on embryonic stem cell research. Even fewer were unsure about adult stem cell research. I believe more and more people will discover how uncomplicated this issue is, and that virtually all the undecided will become opposed to embryonic stem cell research, by whatever name it is called.