Kinder outlines campaign themes

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder said Monday he hopes a campaign pledging property tax relief, stronger efforts to keep illegal immigrants from living and working in Missouri and support for veterans will propel him to the governor's mansion.

In a four-minute video posted at his campaign Web site, www.TeamKinder.com, Kinder began his effort to win the Republican nomination to succeed Gov. Matt Blunt. In the video, Kinder hits themes he hopes to develop during the campaign -- tax cuts to encourage economic growth, steps to combat illegal immigration through law enforcement checks and enforcement against employers, and support for combat veterans through job programs and scholarships.

The tax cuts should focus on middle-class families and spur growth, Kinder said. His No. 1 priority, he said, is to rollback local property taxes.

"We will work together with urban, rural and agricultural leaders to ensure that no region, no county or community of this state is left behind, nor denied the opportunities to create a better future and critical jobs for our families," he said.

On veterans issues, Kinder said he would like to see state programs that support returning veterans and the families of soldiers killed in combat.

A jobs program would "provide special assistance to returning veterans home from active duty," he said.

Kinder also called for a scholarship program for the spouses and children of Missouri soldiers killed in combat.

Kinder, a Cape Girardeau Republican, also picked up a high profile endorsement when St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann announced over the weekend that he was backing Kinder. Ehlmann served with Kinder in the Missouri Senate during the 1990s.

Kinder was the first top GOP leader to announce his plans to seek the party's nomination for governor following Blunt's surprise decision last week to not seek re-election.

Kinder, who served three terms as state Senator from Cape Girardeau, won election as lieutenant governor in 2004.

Kinder already faces a primary contest, with State Treasurer Sarah Steelman in the race.

According to an Associated Press report Monday night, 9th District U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshoff was poised to announce his candidacy during a news conference today.

Others who are considering the contest include House Speaker Rod Jetton, R-Marble Hill, federal prosecutor Catherine Hanaway and Missouri Senate Majority Leader Charlie Shields, R-St. Joseph.

rkeller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 126

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