State treasurer brings Senate campaign to Cape

Saturday, February 14, 2004

U.S. Senate hopeful Nancy Farmer campaigned for the first time in Cape Girardeau on Friday, one of four stops she made in Southeast Missouri to "introduce herself" to her potential constituents.

Farmer, the current Democratic state treasurer and a former state legislator, is running for the Senate seat against longtime Republican incumbent Kit Bond. Bond served as Missouri's governor twice and is in his third term as senator.

Farmer and her campaign entourage pulled into the mall parking lot late Friday morning in a yellow school bus, Farmer's rolling metaphor of her simple upbringing.

She spent much of her short speech addressing her background, which includes being raised in a small town by a father who worked at a grain elevator and a mother who cleaned people's homes.

She was the first in her family to get a college education, she said, and never had an ambition to be in politics when she was young.

She got started in politics during the mid-1980s when she took a position serving as the executive director of the Skinker-DeBaliviere Community Council in St. Louis, a nonprofit housing and development co-op. In 1992, she was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives. She ran unopposed in 1994 and 1996.

Farmer said she is proud of the fact that she helped spearhead an initiative to eliminate the state sales tax on groceries.

Health care and education issues, Farmer said, will be two of her top priorities if elected.

"I'm running for Senate because I'm deeply concerned about the direction of this country and the impact on the people of Missouri," she said. "As someone who's been elected to safeguard Missouri's tax dollars, let me tell you -- the last thing the Bush administration wants is for this CFO to get her hands on their books." CFO means chief financial officer.

About 50 people gathered around the school bus Friday morning to hear Farmer speak.

She criticized President Bush several times, including his tax cuts. The top 1 percent of earners received an average tax cut of $48,000 this year, which Farmer said is about $14,000 more than the average Missourian makes.

bmiller@semissourian.com

243-6635

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