News-Leader candidate surveys: HD 130 Republican primary candidates

Austin Huguelet
Springfield News-Leader

In an effort to give voters more information about this year's statehouse races, the News-Leader is surveying candidates on top-of-mind state and national issues and publishing the answers, starting with candidates in contested primaries.

Three Republicans — Macy Mitchell, Bishop Davidson and Samuel Snider — are running for their party's nomination for House District 130, which covers Republic, Willard and western Greene County.

The incumbent, Rep. Jeff Messenger, R-Republic, is term-limited. Democrat Dave Gragg is unopposed in his party's primary.

Here's what the candidates said, with minor editing for length and style, in the order they'll appear on the ballot. Davidson and Snider did not submit surveys by press time.

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Macy Mitchell

Macy Mitchell

How old are you? 


What do you do for work? 

My family owns businesses throughout the 417 area, one specifically in Republic. We employ around 60 individuals in local communities.

Why are you the best candidate for your district?

I have the right values AND I have life experience. I am a father, business owner, and a volunteer in our community. I know this area because I own businesses here and I graduated from Willard High School. There are certain things in life, like having experience signing both the front AND back of checks, that are important. We need to elect more people that know government should run like a business and live within its means like my family does every day.

What is your opinion of the state’s response to the coronavirus outbreak thus far? 

I support Gov. Parson’s efforts to reopen the economy while encouraging common sense. Missouri has allowed local governments to deal with outbreaks and I typically believe that government governs best when it's closest to the people. As a small business owner, I think it's important for people to use common sense and to keep the economy open.

What will you do as a legislator to help the state recover from the outbreak moving forward? 

Some of the emergency rules and regulations that the governor has put in place removed barriers in government that apparently we can live without. I support making many of those executive orders the law of the land. The less government interferes in our lives, the better. For example, notary publics can now do their work remotely. The pandemic has modernized the way we do business in the state.

What will you do as a legislator to minimize the impact of any economic downturn on the state budget?

It is not the government’s job to employ people or create jobs — the state’s budget and its laws should reflect that. Government should be limited. I will look for ways to continue to reduce the size and scope of government so people can create jobs and return us back to the Trump economy that we had before the pandemic.

Do you think calls for changes to the state’s criminal justice system are justified? If so, why, and which changes do you support? If not, why not?

I am a huge fan of law enforcement and I will not apologize for it. I’ve been involved with a lot of causes that support their work.

What will you do as a legislator to improve educational outcomes for Missouri students? 

We have great schools in our area and I will do whatever I can to keep it that way. I do think changes should be made to improve education outcomes in our urban areas as their failure is costing all of us. I oppose allowing politicians to mess with teacher retirement.

Do you support the proposal to expand Medicaid on the August ballot? Why or why not? 

Missourians have rejected Obamacare at the ballot box before, Medicaid expansion is a portion of Obamacare. There are no free lunches; taxpayers will have to pay for expanding Medicaid, either the state or federal governments. I support free market approaches to health care and this is not a step toward that goal.

How will you address concerns about the state’s aging infrastructure? 

I support allowing locals to prioritize transportation priorities and consider cost-share improvements with the Missouri Department of Transportation as a partner. Resources will be limited for the foreseeable future and we must live within our means, just like local families do.

What issue not mentioned so far do you plan to make a priority if you win your election? Why that one? 

Greene County is a great place to work and live and I will work to ensure it stays that way. I want to be sure our pro-life, pro-Second Amendment values are represented there and that will be my top priority.

What else should voters know about you? 

I am the only candidate in this race that has received an endorsement from both Missouri Right to Life and the National Rifle Association.

Austin Huguelet is the News-Leader's politics reporter. Got something he should know? Have a question? Call him at 417-403-8096 or email him at ahuguelet@news-leader.com. You can also support local journalism at News-Leader.com/subscribe.