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Riddle, Murray disagree on nuclear plant proposal

Incumbent House Rep. Jeanie Riddle, a Mokane Republican, and Democrat Pam Murray of Holts Summit both support adding another nuclear reactor at the Callaway Energy Center but they disagree on how to do it.

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Jeanie Riddle

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Pam Murray

Riddle has introduced and passed legislation through the Missouri House of Representatives but the House-passed measure was blocked earlier this year by the Senate leadership.

Riddle said building small modular nuclear reactors is vital to boosting Callaway County’s economy.

“We want to be the first to do this,” Riddle said, “because it would give us an advantage to becoming a world exporter of this technology. One study shows 8,000 new direct jobs and 8,500 new indirect jobs. It would add $25 billion to Missouri’s economy if our state becomes the lead exporter of these new power plants.”

Murray said she supports expansion of nuclear reactors at the Callaway Energy Center but said she would have voted against the House bill Riddle proposed last year in the Missouri General Assembly.

“More than half of the legislation was devoted to gutting the Missouri Public Service Commission by realigning their budget. It also attempted to limit the amount of regulatory oversight the PSC could apply to telecommunications. It was just a very bad bill,” Murray said.

“It is possible to write a bill that will get the power plant and also protect consumers,” Murray said.

On the issue of tax increases, Murray said she would support a tax increase if necessary to provide needed state services. “I don’t want a tax increase but you have to consider having adequate revenue to meet the mandates of state government,” Murray said.

“I think it’s a miracle that we were able to respond to the Joplin tornado without a tax increase,” Murray said.

Riddle said she is opposed to any tax increase. “I’m a conservative. I think we are overtaxed right now. A tax increase is not where I want to go,” Riddle said.

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