GOP's Blunt attends tea in Cape

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Regardless of gender, Missouri voters are concerned about public education, access to affordable health care, transportation and public safety, said the Republican gubernatorial candidate during a visit to Cape Girardeau Saturday.

Matt Blunt met with about 75 women, and a few men, during an afternoon tea held by Carole Cozean and her husband, Dr. Charles Cozean.

Though the event was primarily for women, it was not affiliated with the Cape Girardeau County Republican Women's group. Women from all over Southeast Missouri were invited to attend.

Blunt said he was not trying to court women's votes by attending the tea, but taking advantage of an opportunity to meet more voters.

His Democratic opponent, Claire McCaskill, is female.

"We're not here because there's an issue of concern to Missouri women. Those issues are the same ones that all Missourians have about the state," he said.

Blunt spoke briefly during his afternoon visit and talked about his desire to improve public education and eliminate it as a political issue in the legislature should he be elected governor. He talked about economic growth and curbing unnecessary litigation in the state, particularly when such lawsuits mean fewer doctors practicing here.

He answered questions about how he would address the meth crisis and talked about how rural communities and law enforcement need more assistance to curb the drug problem.

Blunt's wife, Melanie, also attended the gathering.

Campaign events like the tea are designed to help build awareness about election issues and give people a chance to meet the candidate, Blunt aides said. Similar events have been held in St. Louis and Kansas City, and are being planned throughout the campaign season.

Gale King of Jackson said the event was good because it "gives us some energy to get out and talk to people about him."

The women were encouraged to help five people register to vote and make sure those newly registered voters made it to the polls on Election Day. "We can solicit more votes and it's better than just sitting at home and not doing anything," King said.

ljohnston@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 126

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