Brandom talks experience at senate campaign launch

Sunday, June 12, 2011
Ellen Brandom

Flanked by Republican colleagues, state Rep. Ellen Brandom announced her candidacy for the Missouri Senate on Saturday, pledging to work to keep taxes low, protect the "sanctity of the unborn," and to take a conservative approach to fiscal government.

Speaking to a roomful of supporters at Drury Lodge, the Sikeston, Mo., Republican touted her experience in the Missouri House, where she has represented the 160th District since 2006. She pointed to legislation she sponsored, including drug testing for Welfare recipients, cracking down on dangerous doctors and allowing nonviolent offenders to be monitored at home.

"I have worked hard to be a conservative voice for the families I represent," Brandom said.

"I have strived to pursue policies that are favorable to business and ensure a first-class education for our children and grandchildren."

With fundraising efforts underway for months and strong local GOP support, Brandom has a head start on any potential opponents to replace Sen. Jason Crowell. R-Cape Girardeau, next year when he is forced out of office by term limits.

The election is more than a year away, with a primary Aug. 7, 2012, followed by the general election Nov. 6. The Friends for Ellen Brandom campaign committee reported earlier this year that she had raised $31,722 in cash from Nov. 28 through March 21, bringing her total to $71,287 cash on hand by April 15. Since then, reports show eight single $1,000 contributions.

"If you don't see someone step up in the next month or so, there's almost no way they could catch up," said Holly Lintner, chairwoman of the Republican 27th Senate District Committee. "Anymore, so many races are won and lost by how much money you raise."

The crowd Saturday

showed at least initial support for Brandom's campaign, with fellow Republican representatives Wayne Wallingford of Cape Girardeau and Donna

Lichtenegger of Jackson standing next to her at the lectern. Others who attended were former state representative Mary Kasten, Cape Girardeau County Recorder Scott R. Clark and Cape Girardeau City Council member Kathy Swan.

Wallingford said Brandom is well prepared to serve in the Senate.

"She's got the experience, she knows what she's doing and I know she'll do an excellent job," Wallingford said. "She sat two desks behind me on the House floor and she's very capable and well-respected."

Wallingford also supported Brandom's efforts to require drug testing for Welfare recipients, which passed and awaits Gov. Jay Nixon's signature. Wallingford supported other bills Brandom authored as well, including a proposal that would give patients more information about their doctors as well as empower a state medical board to take action against doctors that have been deemed dangerous for providing substandard care.

Brandom seemed especially pleased with the bill that would require drug-testing for Welfare recipients, calling it "one of the most popular pieces of legislation that passed this year." It didn't go without criticism, however. Some Democratic legislators said it would lead to discrimination.

Brandom also pointed to another bill that she sponsored that allows nonviolent offenders be sentenced to electronic monitoring was a direct answer to Missouri counties that were seeing less reimbursement for housing state prisoners. The cost for the county to hold a prisoner is roughly $35 per day, she said.

She said, if elected, she would continue to support such cost-cutting measures to relieve pressure from residents who are already overburdened by taxes.

"We must be prepared to face the challenging times ahead of us with experience and common-sense solutions," Brandom said.

smoyers@semissourian.com

388-3642

Pertinent address:

104 S. Vantage Dr., Cape Girardeau, MO

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