Just a few hours before voting begins we caught up with Dave Spence after touring a business in Poplar Bluff. A couple things we noticed right away were that Spence seems pretty calm about the election and still has his sense of humor in tact after a year on the campaign trial.
SEMO TIMES: What is the last week of the campaign like?
SEMO TIMES: Tell a conservative Butler County voter who may have a hard time finding a problem with Nixon, why they should vote for you.
Spence: If they strip back the truth you will see has been a political bully and certainly not bipartisan. We are 50th in jobs 49th in economic development other states bordering us are running circles around us. How many more jobs are going to go to Tennessee or Arkansas before our governor takes out those 2.5 million dollar ear muffs the unions have put on him and makes Missouri a right to work state.
SEMO TIMES: Will you be the governor who signs a right to work bill?
Spence: It wont be all on my shoulders, but I certainly would sign it. We need true worker’s comp and tort reform. We also need to get those medical malpractice caps back in place.
SEMO TIMES: What will be the differences in your leadership style and Nixon’s?
Spence: First of all he just plays defense he doesn’t walk the halls and talk to people. He just plays defense, he doesn’t give any ideas, or ideas just play damage control all the time based of polling. I couldn’t be more different. People will always know where I stand. I will be a leader who plays offense instead of defense.
SEMO TIMES: Where do you feel the campaign is standing now?
Spence: I feel good we are coming around the home stretch and I’ve got a lot of gas left in my tank. I will finish strong and I expect to be the next Governor of Missouri.
SEMO TIMES: The Governor is proud of his record on jobs, but you have been critical. Explain your critiques.
Spence: Well I think the Governor has been romancing people to believe things are better than they really are. He talks about 6.9% and that sounds sexy but there is no county in Missouri at 6.9%. Our true unemployment is around 14 or 15%.
SEMO TIMES: Will that true unemployment number be what you use in your administration if you are elected?
Spence: Yes I think so you could make a case for either 10% or 14% but either way people want to know the truth, and you have to be honest with the fact to deal with the problem.
SEMO TIMES: There seems to always be a divide between St. Louis and outstate Missouri, how will you work to heal that divide?
Spence: I’ve dealt with that before in business where departments conflict. You just don’t put up with it. You have to be a consensus builder and lead by example. You have to make sure no one is so centric on one part of the state and we are all Missourians and what is good for one part of the state is good for us all.
SEMO TIMES: What is one way that the government has hindered you from creating jobs?
Spence: I think many parts of the bureaucracy are more interested in being right than working with people. Our department of revenue is doing surprise spot inspections. We are the stakeholders why are you surprising us, why aren’t we working together and helping people. Other states where we have done business in like Utah has a spirit of cooperation where business and government work together to help facilitate job growth.
SEMO TIMES: What is one thing the state is doing right?
Spence: Our people. We have over 5 million people and they are some of the best people you would ever want to meet. Our greatest asset is our people. When challenged and given the truth our people respond.
SEMO TIMES: What is your position on gun control?
Spence: I am a staunch defender of the 2nd Amendment. I have an Aq rating from the NRA because it is off of my positions listed on the questionnaire. I believe the Governor has a C rating.
SEMO TIMES: What is your position on abortion?
Spence: I am pro-life, and endorsed by Missouri Right to Life.
SEMO TIMES: Is there a number Mitt Romney needs to win by for you to win this election?
Spence: My personal prediction is that Romney wins by double digits. I just think there is the groundswell, a silent majority of conservative Missourians who are going to come to the polls in huge numbers. Whether they have to wait in line or come in off hospice with IVs they will. I feel that Missouri is very conservative and conservatives are going to come out in mass and I am certainly not too proud to accept some of the coat tails off the Romney/Ryan ticket.
SEMO TIMES: Do you find any hubris in some democrat operatives already promoting a Jay Nixon for President campaign in 2016.
Spence: I don’t get it personally. I have been studying this guy for a year and one of the reasons I decided to run was he just isn’t that strong of a leader. He is not good without a script or a teleprompter and we already have a guy like that in the Oval Office now and were trying to vote him out.
SEMO TIMES: You have a Butler County guy on the campaign team in Robert Knodell. Tell us about him.
Spence: Ya how about that. The people of Poplar Bluff and Butler County have been some of the nicest people. There are a lot of ups and downs in a campaign and having people like Robert around really keep you focused and on the right path.
SEMO TIMES: If elected, in four years how would people know you have done a good job?
Spence: Results matter. I’m from the business world and I know results matter. We have accepted mediocrity in some elected officials and we are better than that. I would like to see unemployment go down, I would like to see the number of prisoners go down, I would like to review the education funding formula. I would really like to restore a sense of optimism.
SEMO TIMES: We have noticed you have been to Butler County a few times, what is your closing message to voters here?
Spence: I am a fresh face that isn’t pre-disposed to a position due to a relationship with a special interest, and that would describe me. I am the candidate that will represent them morally or ethically and not be in the pocket of special interests I will finally represent them and get us out of the doldrums Nixon has left us in. Missourians deserve better leadership. Ill make you proud.