State Rep. David Tyson Smith’s (D-Columbia) district is primarily in north Columbia, but he also represents some areas south of I-70 as well. Representative Smith joined us live this morning in-studio on 939 the Eagle’s “Wake Up Mid-Missouri.” He says the transgender issue is being used as a “wedge” issue by some in Jefferson City. Representative Smith tells listeners that 40 percent of his constituents are Republicans, and that no one brings up transgender issues when he goes door-to-door. He says his constituents are worried about roads and I-70. Representative Smith also tells “Wake Up Mid-Missouri” that he’d like to see the GOP-controlled Legislature focus more on education, paying teachers more and having safer elections:
A state senator who represents three mid-Missouri counties in the 939 the Eagle listening area is running for secretary of state next year.
State Sen. Denny Hoskins (R-Warrensburg) says election integrity would be one of his top priorities, if elected in 2024.
“You know I filed a bill this past legislative session, Senate Bill 350, to establish the Office of Election Crimes and Security. I believe that with so many illegal immigrants crossing the border, especially from Mexico, we need to make sure that we have election integrity in our elections,” Hoskins tells 939 the Eagle.
Senator Hoskins’ Senate Bill 350 would have created the new office within the secretary of state’s office. It would have overseen a voter fraud hotline. The bill did not receive a hearing in the Missouri Senate.
Senator Hoskins’ district includes Cooper, Howard and Saline counties. He chairs the Missouri Senate Economic Development and Tax Policy Committee. Hoskins notes the secretary of state’s office plays a role in business services and helping Missourians start businesses:
“I want to focus on that as well to make sure that we can eliminate red tape when people are trying to start a business here in Missouri, and trying to get as much done as possible online and make it simple and easy for them,” says Hoskins.
The 48-year-old Hoskins graduated from Westphalia’s Fatima high school, in mid-Missouri’s Osage County. He served in the Missouri House from 2009-2016 before being elected to the Senate in 2016. He’s finishing his second four-year term in the upper chamber.
Meantime, Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia) says former Pro Tem and former House Speaker Ron Richard’s legacy will live on for decades to come. Rowden served in the Senate with Richard (R-Joplin), who’s passed away. Senator Hoskins served with Richard in both chambers. Ron Richard served as Missouri House Speaker in 2009, when Hoskins arrived at the Capitol as a freshman legislator.
“Ron was a stalwart. Most certainly he was a very honorable man and he told you the truth. And sometimes even when you didn’t want to hear the truth, he was not afraid to tell you how it was and how he saw things,” Hoskins says.
Ron Richard is the only Missouri lawmaker in state history to serve as both House Speaker and Senate President Pro Tem.
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Missouri’s Western District says the Justice Department has monitors outside unnamed Cole County polling locations today to monitor compliance with federal voting rights laws. U.S. Attorney’s office spokesman Don Ledford tells 939 the Eagle that the DOJ monitors will not go inside the buildings.
Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft and Cole County clerk Steve Korsmeyer met with the Justice Department on Monday. Ashcroft tells 939 “Wake Up Mid-Missouri” that the DOJ expresses concerns about accessibility issues.
“If they are truly worried about whether or not the hallways at the polling places are wide enough or whether the ramps are the right grade or not, they don’t have to check that on election day,” Ashcroft tells listeners.
Secretary Ashcroft says the Justice Department has no jurisdiction to be inside a polling place, unless invited by the local election authority. He’s fine with them having monitors outside the 25 foot electioneering restriction, adding that Missouri leads the nation in election integrity and in accessible, secure voting.
Ashcroft is also unhappy that the Justice Department didn’t notify him when they contacted Cole County’s clerk directly.
“They intentionally bypassed my office, even though if they have problems they like to sue me. But when they wanted to come in and do this inspection, they tried to tiptoe around our office and I applaud the (Cole County) clerk for letting us know,” says Ashcroft.
The Justice Department is in 24 states today, including in Cole County. DOJ says its civil rights division will take complaints from the public nationwide regarding possible violations of federal voting rights laws.
Secretary Ashcroft says DOJ should consider Missouri the example for other states when it comes to sound, non-partisan elections. Click here to listen to the full interview with Ashcroft.