Akin touts conservative record at local GOP meeting

Sunday, April 8, 2012

If voters elect U.S. Rep. Todd Akin as Missouri's next senator this fall, he promises to reduce the size of government, repeal President Barack Obama's health care reform, rebuild a powerful military and cut what he called "job-killing red tape."

Akin brought his conservative message to Cape Girardeau on Friday in the hopes of setting himself apart from his Republican rivals who all are hoping for the same thing -- the chance to knock off Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill.

"One thing we can do is shift the power balance in the U.S. Senate and taking that liberal Democrat Claire McCaskill and replace her with a conservative," Akin said at a lunchtime meeting of the Cape Girardeau County Republican Women's Club. "We can't do everything to fix the country. But we can at least do that."

But first Akin must get through a Republican primary that includes businessman John Brunner and Sarah Steelman, the former state treasurer and state senator. The local Republicans invited Akin to town as an opportunity for their like-minded friends to hear what he's all about. Holly Lintner, club president, said Akin has been a strong independent voice representing Missouri's 2nd District in the U.S. House, sometimes even voting in opposition to his own party when he feels it has strayed from his principles.

"There are two things that all Republicans can agree on in this election -- the need to replace Obama and the need to replace Missouri's Democrat U.S. Senator, Claire McCaskill," Lintner said. "Congressman Todd Akin is one of three great options Missourians have for U.S. Senate."

Akin serves as chairman of the armed services subcommittee on sea power and projection forces. He is also on the budget committee, where he says he has fought to rein in government spending and debt.

While Akin received a warm welcome at his meeting before fellow conservatives, it isn't certain how well he would do against McCaskill, who was elected in 2006. Akin has come under fire from Democrats for what they characterize as his "extreme record" of fighting for special interests. State Democratic Party spokeswoman Caitlin Legacki said when he filed for the Senate fight that since his 2000 election to Congress, he has voted to protect tax credits for the five largest oil companies.

"In what will surely be a long, messy and expensive GOP primary, Missouri voters expect Todd Akin to answer a lot of important questions about where he really stands," Legacki said.

Akin said Friday, however, that he has a record that can't be bought. He pointed out that he voted against the Wall Street bailouts, despite the fact he was pressured by his single largest campaign contributor. His constituents trust him to do the right thing, he said, so he didn't vote for the legislation. He also acknowledged that he considers himself the most conservative legislator in Congress.

If elected, he said, he would cap the size of federal government, stopping "radical deficit spending" with a constitutional amendment similar to one he drafted while in the Missouri Legislature. He also said if elected he would help realign priorities that he considers out of whack.

For example, he said, food stamps have been increased by 68 percent in recent years, while the defense budget has been cut by 20 percent.

"It seems to me that we are overtaxing the people that work and overpaying the people that don't work," Akin said.

smoyers@semissourian.com

388-3642

Pertinent address;

236 S. Broadview St., Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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