Talent speaks to area Republicans

Sunday, August 18, 2002

While a few hundred Southeast Missouri Republicans chewed chicken and slaw, Jim Talent said his campaign for the state's U.S. Senate seat will focus on his 16 years of experience, strengthening American's national security and creating jobs.

"I want to represent Missouri's mainstream common values," said Talent, the keynote speaker at U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson's annual "Old Fashioned Family Picnic" at the Osage Community Centre in Cape Girardeau. "That's not something I believe my opponent can do."

Talent will face incumbent Democratic Sen. Jean Carnahan in the Nov. 5 election.

Talent said he supports permanently doing away with the estate tax. The estate tax is often called a death tax because it is levied when a taxpayer dies and claims anywhere from 37 percent to 55 percent of assets.

Talent said the estate tax provision in the 2001 tax bill, which Carnahan voted for, ranks among the most bizarre features of the U.S. tax code. The estate tax rate gradually declines to zero by the beginning of 2010 only to be reinstated at the end of that year at the old 55 percent rate.

"That is perhaps the silliest bill ever," Talent said. "There are things the government should be doing to help the economy that it isn't; for example, permanent repeal of the death tax, and defense spending."

A classic example is that the government's not letting people explore for oil, referring to drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which he supports and Carnahan doesn't.

Several hundred people attended the event Saturday afternoon, including almost all of the local General Assembly representatives from Southeast Missouri. U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof of the 9th Congressional District also attended.

Emerson said the picnic is a chance to build momentum going into the election.

"It's a time for all the candidates to get together and rally the troops as we march into the election," she said. "And it's usually a pretty good time."

smoyers@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 137

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