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Kinder speaks to Cape Girardeau County Republican Women's Club
Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder's message to Cape Girardeau County Republican Women's Club members and several Republican officeholders and candidates Friday centered on his opposition to the Affordable Healthcare Act, but he also took the opportunity to endorse efforts of the tea party and Mitt Romney for president. He encouraged his party's representatives to connect with minorities for votes and find ways to unify for the benefit of the GOP come November.
Kinder, a Cape Girardeau native, wasted no time in attacking Democratic officeholders over government-mandated health insurance, calling Gov. Jay Nixon and Attorney General Chris Koster "spectators" in the political fight against the Obama administration's health care law.
"At every point in that debate, Missourians and Americans sent the message that we wanted no part of this," Kinder told about 40 people who gathered for the club's monthly lunch meeting at Dexter Bar-B-Que.
Kinder pointed to the lawsuit he filed last year that seeks to repeal sections of the law as his personal response on behalf of around 70 percent of voters who supported Proposition C in 2010.
He did not target positions on any issue for the 12 others who make up the candidate roster for lieutenant governor, including state Sen. Brad Lager, R-Savannah, who raised $100,000 more in campaign contributions in the first quarter of the year than Kinder. Campaign finance reports on file with the Missouri Ethics Commission show Kinder's campaign had $1.27 million on hand as of March 31, the end of the filing period, with more than $226,000 raised since Jan. 1.
Kinder reminded attendees Friday that he has not used any taxpayer dollars for lawyer's fees related to the health care lawsuit, but instead sought private donations. The suit is now in the Court of Appeals and awaits a Supreme Court ruling, which Kinder said he hopes will come out 5-4 in his favor in June. He also reiterated that during his eight years in the lieutenant governor's office that he has always returned his office's unspent allocations to taxpayers.
Now running for a third term, Kinder advised Republicans the reason he has been successful in past bids for re-election is that he has reached out to minorities and informed them that they share values with the party. In his opinion, minorities and the GOP actually have similar views on social issues like abortion and traditional marriage, although it isn't always apparent unless candidates visit communities frequently and thoroughly to get to know voters.
Cape Girardeau city councilwoman Kathy Swan, who will assume the state representative seat for the 147th District in November, as she is running unopposed, asked Kinder for a message to bring Republicans together as a team in order to succeed in November.
"We as a Republican family often have family squabbles," Swan said. "While we have the same conservative beliefs, we don't coalesce as much as we would like to as a unified party."
Kinder gave the example of his choice not to support a specific Republican for the presidential nomination too early, but said he now supports Mitt Romney.
"He's now my guy, and I say we all pull together behind him for a big -- what I believe could be -- a big Republican victory," he said.
He said he doesn't agree with those who say Romney's chances aren't good, believes that he will make a better president than candidate, and that while he does not favor Romney's background on health care reform in Massachusetts, Republicans can "still make the case against Obama."
"If there's anything that should be unifying, it's the prospect of four more years of Obama," he said.
236 S. Broadview St., Cape Girardeau, MO