More than 200 people gathered to support U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson and U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, at the Arena Building on Sunday.
"America's Got Talent" winner Neal E. Boyd of Sikeston, Mo. was a surprise guest at the event and opened the annual picnic singing "Proud to be an American." The Missouri Patriot Guard Riders, an organization whose members often attend soldiers' funerals, were also honored at the picnic.
The Patriot Guard Riders are a constant support for Missouri's veterans and for young Americans seeking to join the military, said Lloyd Smith, executive director for the Missouri Republican Party.
"We've had this picnic ever since Bill Emerson was first elected. This would make it 30 years or so," said Jo Ann Emerson, the incumbent candidate in Missouri's 8th District race.
As they visited with the picnic's attendees, Emerson and Blunt addressed the federal stimulus bill. Both said its mission failed and that government should be more focused on creating conditions to build private-sector jobs.
"Why is the federal government spending more money than ever?" Blunt asked. "I've met with dozens of small-business roundtables in the state. ... Every one of them started out with the concern of uncertainty of what's going to happen."
Emerson also addressed the private sector and said that all regulations on small businesses should be reviewed.
"It can be reviewed very quickly," she said. "That should be our biggest focus, because that's what will create more jobs."
Although Blunt and Emerson spoke of a number of things they'd like to see changed with the federal government, their main push was to get Missourians registered to vote by Oct. 6, the state's deadline.
"We have to take back the House of Representatives. ... We have to take back the Senate," Smith said. "Get yourself, family members registered and get out to vote."
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