(News director Andrew Pitkin at Missourinet Nevada affiliate KNEM contributed to this story)

Two familiar names are hoping to replace term-limited State Sen. Ed Emery, R-Lamar, in rural western Missouri. Emery is being forced out of the Legislature by term limits, after serving 16 years, eight in each chamber.

State Sen. Ed Emery, R-Lamar, speaks on the Missouri Senate floor in Jefferson City on February 19, 2020 (file photo courtesy of Jonathan Lorenz at Senate Communications)

Emery chaired the Senate Government Reform Committee.

Former State Rep. Rick Brattin, R-Harrisonville, served in the Missouri House from 2011-2018, before being forced out of that chamber by term limits.

One of the issues he’s championed and filed in recent years is legislation to authorize a property tax exemption for people who have owned real property for thirty years and those who have owned personal property for ten years. Real property is land and homes.

Brattin’s bill has never gained much traction, due to opposition from education groups worried about school funding. Brattin says Missourians pay for personal property or real property taxes forever.

Brattin’s Democratic opponent is former Sweet Springs Mayor Raymond Kinney, who lives in Raymore. Kinney grew up in the small town of Cleveland, Missouri, south of Kansas City.

One of his top priorities is assisting small, rural towns with infrastructure. He says rural Missouri towns are struggling to keep up with roads, water lines, as well as police and fire protection.

Kinney notes that in many small towns, the income level is low, resulting in low tax dollars. He says before focusing on high-profile issues, attention must be given to the infrastructural backbone of our communities.

Missouri’s 31st senatorial district covers five rural counties: Barton, Bates, Cass, Henry and Vernon. The district has been Republican. The late State Sen. Harold Caskey, D-Butler, held it for years. Then-State Sen. Chris Koster, D-Harrisonville, also held the seat, although he was elected to that seat as a Republican and later switched parties.

Towns in the district include Lamar, Harrisonville, Butler, Clinton and Nevada. Agriculture is one of the largest industries in the district.

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