Missouri House, 156th District -- Michael Winder

Sunday, November 2, 2008
Michael Winder

Name: Michael Winder

Party: Democratic

Birth: Aug. 13, 1975, St. Louis County

Spouse, children: Angela Winder; Jessica, 5, Michael Jr., 20 months

Occupation: Ironworker

Employer: MC Industrial

Public offices held: None

Past political campaigns: Candidate for state representative, 156th District, 2006

Question 1: What is the most important issue facing the office of state representative, 156th District?

Answer: Jobs are definitely one of the most important issues. If we cannot find a way to promote jobs in our district we will be in trouble. With the rising fuel cost people will not continue to be driving an hour or more back and forth to work. We have to work with our current businesses to find ways for them to expand along with bringing new businesses into our area. The people in our district are some of the hardest working in the state.

Health care is another one that is hurting our citizens. For those of us that are fortunate enough to have health insurance, it is costing us a fortune. It is time that the greatest country in the world, along with the greatest state, start providing accessible health care to our citizens.

Education is another issue that needs to be addressed. Our public education system is extremely good. We can make it better, though. We need to raise teacher salaries so we can continue to have quality teachers in our schools. The new funding formula needs some work. Our rural schools need the same benefits the wealthier school districts have. Our children's education is probably the most important issue for our district. We need to ensure that our children are given the best education there is. Our teachers need to teach the children and not just teach a test, which unfortunately is what a lot of schools are having to do. Public education provides every child and equal shot at success. Our teachers and administrators of our schools should be proud for the job they do because they are some of the true hero's in our district.

Our infrastructure is also important. Without improvements to our roads and bridges, it will be hard to promote new employers. It is time we stop talking about repairing Highway 34 and finally do it. Highway 51 is also in need of repair. How many people does our district have to lose before we stop talking and correct the problem? Not only would rebuilding our infrastructure help in bringing new employers to our district, it would also create jobs while we rebuild.

Question 2: What in your background or education makes you qualified for this office?:

Answer: My mom and dad raised me to be a hard worker and instilled strong moral values in me. My dad worked as a police officer for 34 years. I started working as a child, whether it was mowing someone's lawn, working in the hay fields or landscaping. I joined the U.S. Army after I graduated from Woodland High School and was stationed in Germany. After I received my Honorable Discharge I returned home and worked at various places like ARI, a sawmill an on Dairy Farms. I then worked for Morris-Shea out of Alabama an Penzel Construction Company as a laborer on the Procter & Gamble Plant. I found I really liked the construction industry and went through a three-year apprenticeship program for ironworkers, where I am currently employed. I believe my background in several different fields that affect our district will be beneficial to understanding the issues facing us. I think my work ethic will greatly benefit me in the decisions facing our district. Knowing there are a lot of issues I may not understand and being willing to be up-front and admit I will have to seek advice from people in the district to make good decisions for us will also be a help. The one promise that I can make is that I will work for our district and not for the special-interest groups that are currently running Jefferson City.

Question 3: Why are you better qualified than your opponent?

Answer: I think I am better qualified with my background. I understand the struggles we all go through. Whether it is trying to figure out how to pay the bills or asking "Will I still have a job next week?", we need some major changes in our state and country. I have been campaigning for three years now. Everywhere people say the same things and it has not change for three years. What can we do for jobs? What if I get sick and I have no insurance? When are we going to fix the roads? That's just a start. Things are going to have to change. We have been talking about fixing our roads for at least eight years. It is time to take some action. I can promise you to work for this district and vote my district, which has not happened for three years. Our current representative decided a consulting business was more important than us. Our hard-working citizens were criticized on our work ethic, along with a few other issues. I think if I am not elected we will have the same policies of the current administration, policies like health care cuts (90,000 children cut off and senior citizens), the selling of MOHELA (which was an extremely successful program for affordable collage education that is now struggling) and an attempt to take $40 million from rural schools to send the money to schools in St. Louis an Kansas City.

Question 4: Will you have an office in Bollinger County for constituents to contact you?

Answer: As far as an office in Bollinger County right now I am planning on talking with the county commissioners to see if we could use the courthouse to meet with people a minimum of once a month. I also want to have an assistant that can meet with people while I am in session. Another thing I am doing is providing my home phone number, 573-783-4667, and my cell phone number, 573-783-1802. I believe we should be able to contact our representatives directly.

Question 5: What legislation do you propose to introduce that will benefit the district?

Answer: I want to work on legislation to allow tax breaks for companies, current and new ones, that provide jobs in our district and across Missouri. It is time we started taking pride in the "Made in the USA" and especially "Made in Missouri" products. If we do not start promoting manufacturing jobs here at home, I believe we are in for far worse times than now. I know that we are all getting tired of the "Made in China" labels on our shelves.

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