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Lockwood, Houghton face off again in 2014 District 43 race

Lockwood, Houghton face off again in 2014 District 43 race

April 2nd, 2014 in News

A Kingdom City man and current State Rep. Jay Houghton, R-Martinsburg, will face each other again in the 2014 race for District 43.

Ed Lockwood, Democratic candidate for Missouri's 43rd district, and Houghton both sought out Missouri's 43rd District, which covers all of Audrain County and northern and eastern portions of Callaway County, in 2012.

Houghton won the election with 63.7 percent of the votes, leaving Lockwood with the other 36.3 percent, according to the Missouri Secretary of State's office.

Lockwood said 2012 was his first-ever election bid and he received a "good response" despite his lack of experience. Looking at the 2014 race, Lockwood said requests from the public prompted him to run again.

"Support so far has been tremendous," he said.

In his bio on the Callaway County Democrats' website, Lockwood states he wants to end the "gridlock" in Jefferson City. He said the tension between a Democratic governor and a strong Republican legislature has hurt the advancement of the state and that too much of one party - Republican or Democrat - isn't best for the people, but balance is.

"We're finding that a super majority doesn't work," Lockwood said.

He said he feels the Missouri legislature has not passed any "significant legislation over the past four years," and that Missouri would be in better shape if Republicans and Democrats came together more frequently like when they did for the Boeing deal.

"That's the kind of working relationship we need to have," Lockwood said.

Lockwood called himself a rural Democrat - a classification that he said has been "unfairly painted" by the Tea Party. He said he is fiscally conservative and is not in favor of "big government." He was a small business owner for 15 years and is currently a biology professor at Westminster College.

"I'm concerned about taking care of our districts and our neighbors," Lockwood said.

When approached with concerns, Lockwood said people share their thoughts on economic growth, therefore putting employment on his agenda "first and foremost," adding that the issue is also personal to him.

Lockwood's two daughters are in college and, after investing in their education, he said he's uncertain about their post-college opportunities.

If elected, Lockwood said he would like to sponsor legislation that would help offset businesses' fears about the cost of Obamacare, proposing a tax credit for employers who hire employees full time (therefore offering benefits) and maintain a certain number of employees. He said he wouldn't be in favor of a broad-based tax cut because he feels that it won't have any economic benefit.

Lockwood said he's in favor of Medicaid expansion in Missouri because, he said, federal dollars are sent to other states. Expanding Missouri's Medicaid would benefit rural hospitals, Lockwood added, which are cutting back job opportunities.

"We need to bring that back home," he said.

More funding toward education is another area Lockwood said he favors.

"Companies are trying to draw quality employees and (students) need qualifications that employers want," Lockwood said.

In terms of specifically Callaway and Audrain counties, Lockwood said he wants to work to increase the manufacturing base and advance the small business sector.

Lockwood added that he felt Houghton has not pushed any significant legislation through the Missouri legislature during his tenure, to which Houghton had a response.

"Unless you're down here in this environment, it's hard to understand what happens here," Houghton said.

Bills he's been excited about in the past, Houghton said, have typically been amended (added to) or combined with bills from other legislators. He described himself as a "behind the scenes" legislator who's not about glory, but what's best for the people of Missouri.

Specifically, Houghton referenced a previous agriculture bill he put forward that was nearly identical legislation sponsored by Representative Casey Guernsey, R-Bethany, that addressed videotaping inside animal confinements.

"This isn't about me ... Let's get it done," Houghton said.

For his 2014, Houghton said he will be in the public eye as much as possible while maintaining his role as a legislator.

When deciding if to run again, Houghton said he was motivated because he wants to continue to "make a difference in state government."

He said government transparency and lowering tax rates are issues he's focused on and would like to keep diving into if re-elected.

Houghton sponsored House Concurrent Resolution 18 this session. The legislation requests the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the price increase on propane gas.

"I am a lifeline between constituents and state government," Houghton said.

Keeping up with the theme of accountability, Houghton added that he wants to make certain state departments are held responsible for roles in government while ensuring transparency.

Houghton, who is the vice-chairman of the House's Agriculture Policy Committee, said he will continue to promote agriculture in Jefferson City if he's elected for the 2015 session.

"I've worked hard in the legislature (to fight against) special interest groups that are out to harm animal agriculture," Houghton said.

He also said small businesses are key to not only the state's economy, but also Audrain and Callaway counties.

"We need to be working for small businesses so they can survive," Houghton said.

The biggest difference between himself and Lockwood, Houghton said, is philosophocal. Hougton said he's pro-life and Lockwood said he is neutral on the subject, stating he's "pro-family" and what's best for an individual family or person.

Brittany Ruess can be reached at (573) 826-2419 or brittanyr@fultonsun.com