Despite snowy conditions Thursday, one of the three candidates for Missouri governor made a campaign stop in Neosho.

Despite snowy conditions Thursday, one of the three candidates for Missouri governor made a campaign stop in Neosho.

Sarah Steelman, the current state treasurer, stumped for the Republican nomination before a small crowd of county office holders and business people at the Newton County Courthouse.

Steelman said there are a number of challenges facing state government, but one of the largest, and perhaps most important, is to regain people’s trust in government.

“A recent study said people are very satisfied with their lives, but they feel like the government is going in the wrong direction,” she said. “It almost seems like a contradiction, doesn’t it? But people need to feel that their government is doing the right thing, and working for the people of the state, not for special interests.”

Another major issue facing the state is the economy.

“I want to make sure Missouri has a strong economy,” she said. “Low taxes, a small government, are all principles which keep the economy going.”

The state should also address illegal immigration, and mete out stiff penalties on employers who knowingly hire workers who are not in the U.S. legally, Steelman said.

“This is an issue that we can’t wait on Washington to fix,” she said. “I want to make sure employers who hire illegal workers are penalized. Why? They have an unfair advantage, they’re not paying taxes to the state, and they’re not paying a living wage.”

The candidate also told those assembled that education was “the bedrock” of a solid future for the state.

“I have three boys — two in college and one who is 12 — and I can certainly appreciate the value of undergraduate education and public schools, high school and elementary education,” she said. “When I took office back in 2005, I wanted to make sure money was put into the schools. But that’s not all there is to education. I had three boys in public schools, and I know how important it is to have parental involvement.”

But the educational system isn’t perfect, Steelman said. Often, too much time is spent worrying how students are doing on standardized tests, and not enough is spent on making sure children are learning.

As she has two sons in college, Steelman said, she knows the challenges parents face in sending their children on to higher education. She said programs like MOST, the state’s 529 savings plan in which citizens save for their children’s college education through a tax-advantaged investment program, helped families achieve their dreams of sending their sons and daughters to college.

“Not only does it help Missouri families reach their dreams, but it’s also one of our best economic development tools: Investing in our kids,” Steelman said.

Steelman, 49, attended public schools in her hometown of Jefferson City, and earned two degrees from the University of Missouri at Columbia: a bachelor of arts in history and a master’s degree in economics. She and her husband, David, live in Rolla.
Incidentally, David Steelman is a former state representative and ran against Jay Nixon for the attorney general’s office in 1992.

As state treasurer, Steelman manages more than $20 billion in annual revenue, including overseeing approximately $4 billion in the state’s investment portfolio.

Steelman is a former state senator and marks numerous bills to improve health care, a measure to provide easier public access to governmental records and a charitable checkoff to allow taxpayers to contribute to medical research to find cures for serious illnesses among her accomplishments.

She also introduced and placed on the ballot the Sanctity of Marriage Act, which defines marriage in the state as a union between one man and one woman.

Neosho Daily News