Meet the candidates: District 13 State Representatives

In the midterm election on Nov. 6, two Parkville residents are vying for a vacated Missouri House of Representatives seat. Entrepreneur Vic Allred is the Republican candidate, and broadcast journalist Mitch Weber is the Democratic candidate.

The Missouri House of Representatives is comprised of 163 members. House members are elected for two-year terms and are up for re-election every even numbered year.

The Stylus interviewed both candidates to get their views on the issues that matter most to them. Their answers below were edited for length.

Question: How would you describe yourself as a candidate?

Allred: I’m a small business owner.  I own seven small businesses with five restaurants, a bookkeeping company and a franchise company.  Because of my entrepreneurial background, I’ve started businesses that have been very successful and some that haven’t been.  I feel like my business acumen will serve me well in Jeff City.  I have a history of job creation many candidates don’t have, and I have proven leadership skills as shown by the many boards I’m on and the leadership positions I have held.

Weber: I was a TV reporter for 16 years before I became a small business owner, so I have covered several campaigns, not just in the Kansas City area but also in Wisconsin, for around 10 years. I have also covered a couple of presidential campaigns, and I have been on the other side of the political system. After the 2016 election I thought I needed to get more involved because when I was a TV reporter, I kept a distance because I didn’t want to feel like I was biased against people I might be interviewing. No one was running for the position and after a couple of days of discussing it with friends of mine who I knew I would want on my campaign, and with my husband, they were all on board, and we wanted to do something. We love this area (Parkville) so much. I am the marketing director for Main Street Parkville and have spent time on the Chamber of Commerce. I understand the needs of business owners and what people want in downtown Parkville, and that’s why I decided to run.

If you could describe your campaign in one word, what would it be?

VA: Leadership.

MW: Connected.

Q: What are some goals you hope to achieve if you are elected?

VA: I want to serve on the budget, small business and transportation committees. Our roads and bridges need repair and the legislature has often kicked the can down the road. It is time to act before it gets too late. We have restaurateurs and other small business that are only one bad 75-year-old bridge away from being isolated.

MW: We need to start on the local level and build up. People are choosing party over country. We need to make sure that our state is welcoming and that people want to move here and that we’re making it as easy as possible to register to vote and check voter registration status. I think that the one thing that has frustrated me is when a representative says, “The majority of my constituents say this” but don’t give you any numbers. Politicians tend to hide behind lobbyists and there is never any data that backs any of their information up. We need to make sure that they can explain why they are voting the way they are; you need to be voting with the majority of people who live in your district.

Q: Where do you stand on education?

VA: Education is the most important part of a successful life.  While we need to find the funding, I support the full funding of a preschool program, elementary and secondary education.  I’m also very big on vocational schools to provide apprenticeships and certifications for those wanting to learn a skill but might not be cut out for college.

MW: We need to make sure that all children are on a level playing field because education affects the rest of their lives. If the state legislature doesn’t fully fund not just public education but even higher education, then the universities have to increase tuition because they are not getting as much money as they have received in the past, and I think that we need to look at the debt-free model for higher education. Platte County needs an advocate for our schools in Jefferson City.

Q: Where do you stand on healthcare?

VA: I support AHPs (Associated Health Plans) have worked for years to finally get them passed and signed by the President. Being able to pool thousands of people together to one plan will bring down costs. I also support removing obstacles for competition, like state lines, and making doctors and hospitals post their prices. Healthcare is about the only thing we really don’t do comparative shopping on, and I think with more competition and people in the system, prices will naturally come down.

MW: We want to expand Medicaid and make sure that pre-existing conditions are covered. I also think lawmakers should have the same healthcare as everyone else. Everyone should be on a level playing field.

Q: What’s something that most people wouldn’t know about you?

VA: I’m an open water certified scuba diver and am a certified shark feeder. I feed them with no cage, only a metal mesh suit covering my wet suit. It’s pretty intense.

MW: I grew up on a farm, and we had two pet raccoons. We found them abandoned in our hay barn, and we fed them by bottle.