Catherine Hanaway, Republican candidate for Missouri Governor, made a stop in Hamilton on her “Make Missouri Safe and Strong” tour. About a dozen people attended her half hour meeting at the Won by One center.

Hanaway grew up in Nebraska and Iowa and moved to St. Louis when she was 27. She was Speaker of the House in 2003 and 2004 and before that was the Minority Leader. During her time in office she passed concealed carry, overriding Governor Nixon’s veto, passed the first ever 24 hour waiting period before abortions and ended public funding in Missouri on abortions. She became a federal prosecutor for four years under the Bush Administration, prosecuting over 4,000 cases in 47 Missouri counties. She went back into private practice not intending to run again politically, but felt with the current situation in the country and the state, that it was time to make some changes.

She believes in restoring law and order in the state, siting the Ferguson issue as an embarrassment to the state of Missouri. Hanaway added that the murder rate is up 18% in St. Louis, 40% in Kansas City, and that violent crime is up around our state, and she feels it is because there is no leadership in the governor’s mansion supporting law enforcement. She criticized an incident that happened at the University of Missouri, where a protesting conservative student trying to take a picture was dealt with severely by a professor, adding that all students liberal and conservative should be able to exercise their freedom of speech.

Hanaway said her vision is that Missouri should be the number one agri-business state in the country. Missouri is the only state navigable to both the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, it has the second highest number of farms, rates third in cattle production, Missouri has an animal science corridor that runs from Lawrence, KS to Columbia, and a plant science corridor in the eastern part of the state. The state just needs to have a governor to bring it all together and who will go out and sell it to the world, said Hanaway.

Presiding Commissioner, Bud Motsinger, asked how her support of law enforcement could be brought locally to help fund the sheriffs’ departments? Hanaway said that the state is supposed to pay for prisoners in county jails. State reimbursement needs to be brought back up, adding that a lot of Homeland Security funds get drawn down from the federal government. She believes that federal assistance should not all be spent on preparedness at the statewide level and more of those funds should be pushed to local law enforcement.

When asked about the division between the cities and rural areas and how to draw those thought processes together, Hanaway said that being the number one agri-business state in the country will show people in the city how connected they are to the rural areas. There are many big employers in the urban areas that are completely reliant on the Ag economy. Our futures are related to each other.

When asked about local control of education, Hanaway said she believes one of the worse things that has happened recently is Common Core getting pushed down on school districts. No one wants it. She believes in local control and ending statewide teacher tenure, adding that this will mean that school boards can manage their local workforce, they can pay bonuses if they need to in order to bring in math and science teachers, and they can reward good teachers instead of being dictated by statewide policy.

Hanaway believes the market should decide on GMO labeling. She doesn’t believe that a state mandate is a good thing. “If you look at packaging for food products, if every state has a different standard, it makes it very uneconomical for the people who are in the food packaging business,” said Hanaway. “As demand for non GMO food increases, the market will respond.”

A question was brought to Hanaway about transportation stating that a 6 cent gas tax would only be a drop in the bucket to what the transportation department needs in order to make improvements that other states have done such as providing truck lanes.  Hanaway’s answer was that she was concerned that MoDOT has had stimulus money in the last decade, has had bonding money and now is coming back and saying that they are only going to maintain 8,000 of the 34,000 miles of roads unless there is a tax increase. She believes that a full scale audit needs to be done on MoDOT, and some accountability measures put in place. All the money collected from gas tax needs to be spent on transportation only, not on bike paths and other diversions. She is very supportive of the Highway Patrol which is currently funded in the transportation budget, but believes that the patrol funding of 200 million should be taken out of the general revenue to pay for the patrol. That would give the state 200 million to spend on roads. She believes in reducing the income tax and shifting some of that tax burden into the gas tax. That way the total tax burden on Missourians would not go up.

When asked about eliminating the income tax, Hanaway said there are nine states that do not have any income tax at all. She would like to do away with the income tax but she is also a realist. Even if she was elected to two terms in office, they would not get rid of the income tax. There are core functions the state has to perform and they cost money. Over time you can start to move that way but you have got to do it responsibly.

When asked what her stance was on the TPP – Trans Pacific Partnership, she declined answering the question by saying it was more of a federal issue and that she has not taken a stance on it.

When asked a question of the difference between Cruz and Trump, Hanaway said “anybody but Hillary.” She just hopes the election is played straight and fair and whoever gets the most votes wins, that we go forward united as a party and win back the White House.

Hanaway answered a question about cannabis oils and their experimental use for medical issues? She said she would always oppose the legalization of marijuana for any recreational purposes. She has prosecuted too many cases involving drugs. She is open to learning more about the science of the active ingredients being distilled out in the form of an oil for medical treatment. “I find some of the evidence of seizures, particularly, constructive but I think we need to be very cautious as we go down this path,” she said. One problem is that kids are getting hooked on pain killers and when they can’t get the pain killers, they are switching over to heroin and it is really becoming an epidemic.

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