Missouri’s four more well-known candidates for governor are being weighed by state Farm Bureau members.
Republicans Jay Ashcroft, Bill Eigel and Mike Kehoe – and Democrat Crystal Quade – took part in a forum Sunday at the Lake of the Ozarks. When asked about what’s needed to improve agricultural infrastructure in Missouri, Ashcroft focused on inland waterways.
“Everything we can move on water that you have to purchase, that’s a direct help to your bottom line because it’s cheaper,” Ashcroft said. “Everything you want to sell that we can export on water, that just increases what you get in return for it.”
Quade stressed the importance of expanding broadband in rural areas.
“I grew up in Webster County,” Quade said, “and where I’m from kids would have to – during COVID when there was no school – sometimes kids would have to drive 45 minutes to the closest McDonald’s to sit in the parking lot and access the internet.”
According to Kehoe, the best way to improve agriculture infrastructure is to take a “value-added” approach.
“Value-added means bringing a processing plant to Missouri for the first time ever in large volume that we’ll have for once, as a cattle producer myself, allow us to not only encourage people to fatten cattle but have a place to go with them,” he said. “That’s a great example of value-added.”
Eigel, meanwhile, suggested the pathway to improving agricultural infrastructure is to lower taxes for everyone.
“We got to reduce the tax burden,” he said. “Florida, Texas, Tennessee – they are growing because they don’t charge you rent on your vehicle for personal property tax. They don’t charge you income tax. Imagine a Missouri where you’re not paying rent on your combines and your tractors – that’s the Missouri I’m talking about.”
Eigel also opposed raising the gas tax to improve roads and bridges, saying Jefferson City should instead cut government spending pay for them. The Missouri Farm Bureau supported the user fee hike on gasoline. The increase includes an optional reimbursement for the cost of the increase.
The candidate’s forum was co-hosted by the Missouri Farm Bureau and Brownfield Ag News, and was held Sunday at the Margaritaville Resort at the Lake of the Ozarks.
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