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Heated campaign for Congress nears conclusion

by Kim Fickett
Landmark reporter

After emerging into national-level politics in 2000, Missouri’s Sixth District Congressman Sam Graves is seeking his third term of office on Nov. 2.

Graves, 41, who originally planned to carry on the farming family tradition, turned to politics in 1992, when he was elected as a state representative.

Now 14 years later, Graves is relying on his experience to boost him above Democratic opponent Charlie Broomfield for the U.S. Congress seat.

During his political tenure, Graves stated there have been three accomplishments he has encouraged while in office.

“I offered a bill that said 95 cents of every federal education dollar should be spent directly in the classroom instead of on the bureaucracy,” said Graves.

The incumbent Republican says he has “provided tax relief for hard working Missourians” and has “supported our troops who are fighting for our freedoms everyday.”

Three issues stand atop Graves list of importance in representing the 6th district.

“National security is of utmost importance to keep our country safe and win the war on terrorism,” said Graves.

“It’s also important to make health care affordable and accessible to everyone.”

In Broomfield’s interview, he noted the Medicare prescription drug bill as a major legislative error.

Broomfield stated his plans to repeal the medicare prescription drug bill signed into legislation.

“This bill will prove to be a disaster for America and for senior citizens,” said Broomfield. “You can go and buy a Japanese car, or French perfume, but you can’t go to Toronto and buy America produced medication.”

Broomfield said he blames Graves for the passing of that legislation.

“Graves cast the deciding vote in the middle of the night to pass the bill,” explained Broomfield. “One single vote would have killed that bill. I blame Sam Graves for casting that vote.”

Broomfield, 67, explained that two weeks after the medicare prescription drug bill was passed, Congress learned that bureaucrats had lied to them about the cost of the Medicare prescription drug bill.

Congress was initially informed that the bill would cost $395 billion, and then learned in those two weeks following that the bill would cost an estimated $600 billion.

“Ultimately this bill is going to bankrupt the system,” said Broomfield.

According to Graves, Broomfield needs to research the bill before making statements.

“His statements show an incredible misunderstanding of the law and he needs to read it,” said Graves.

“The first thing the bill does is that it provides for 14 million low income seniors, that’ll never have to worry about deciding between putting food on the table or buying prescriptions,” said Graves. “Everyone else it takes care of up to 75% of their prescription costs up to a point, and then a catastrophic clause kicks in.”

For Graves, the worst part of Broomfield’s statements is he doesn’t offer a solution if elected to office.

“It’s very irresponsible to say something like he did and not even offer an alternative,” stated Graves.

The economy wraps up Graves top issues facing the district and country.

“We have to help the economy grow,” stated Graves. “We need to make sure the environment is conducive so businesses can expand, so people can have jobs, and so businesses can do what they need to do to be effective.”

Graves added, “We need to make the U.S. the greatest place in the world to do business.”

If reelected for a third term as 6th District representative, Grave will not only bring back to office with him those issues, but his goals for the Congress.

“I want to finish the transportation bill. It’s got a lot of great things in there for the state of Missouri and it also has a lot of earmarks in there for the 6th District,” explained Graves.

The energy bill is also a legislative goal of Graves. “The energy bill is designed to reduce our reliance on foreign oil. Right now we’re 56% dependent on foreign oil and half of that is OPEC,” said Graves.

Broomfield has laid out goals for his term in office if elected by the people on Nov. 2.

If elected he plans to fund and amend the No Child Left Behind bill, and pass laws that encourage American corporations to create jobs in America and not send them overseas or offshore.

“The 6th District of Missouri is an urban district with about 75% of the people living in large cities and suburbs. I just don’t think Sam Graves has an appreciation for all of the problems that need solutions in the metropolitan part of the district,” stated Broomfield.

Graves responded by stating: "All he looks at is one part of the district as another. He doesn’t look at the district as a whole. I have a very diverse district, but what I’ve found is that issues don't change from town to town.”

“People want to make sure their kids have a good education, they have good low cost health care, and that their taxes are low,” said Graves.

Along with helping the urban population, Broomfield said he feels he can also contribute to the American farmers.

“I think I’ll do a better job of representing the family farmers and small business people in the rural part of the district,” said Broomfield.

“Frankly, I think I’m far more mature than he is. I think I have a much better grasp of the history of our nation, and a far greater breath of experience in all aspects of life,” stated Broomfield. “I have a far greater and deeper commitment to historical values and principles upon which America is based.”

Broomfield stated he wants to do what’s best for the people, despite that of party lines.

“I am and will be an independent thinker and voter. I think Sam Graves is a 98% straight party voter. I don’t think either party has that kind of monopoly on what is right or wrong in America,” said Broomfield.

Graves said he’s not as clear cut of a Republican as Broomfield is painting the picture to be.

“I’m guided by my values and beliefs and how I was raised,” said Graves. “I make decisions every day on how their going to effect my family and all of our families.”

“I represent my 6th District to Washington, not Washington back to the 6th district,” continued Graves. “I hold thousands of town hall meetings a year and gather ideas and issues and take those back to Washington.”

Graves pointed out that there are definite lines he doesn’t cross in politics, no matter what his party’s views on that issue may be.

“One area I greatly differ from my party on is immigration. I think we have sick immigration laws in this country and that they need to be fixed,” said Graves.

Broomfield, who was born and raised in Clay County, Mo., also said Graves has shown his lack of criteria to make a good congressman with his latest introduction of legislation.

“Graves has recently introduced a bill to make it a crime for scientists to do stem cell research. This is another major issue Sam Graves is wrong on,” said Broomfield.

“Stem cell research holds great promise for finding cures to diabetes, Alzheimers and possibly even cancer.”

“The bill he’s referring to is the cloning bill. Yes, I do support a ban on cloning, but I also do support stem cell research,” said Graves.

“I don’t believe you should end a life to save a life, and that’s what he’s referencing to is that cloning bill.”

“Stem cell research is exciting to me and I think some wonderful things will be able to be done.”

Graves, graduated from Tarkio High School in 1982 and then attended the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he received a degree in Agronomy.

Graves and his wife Lesley, reside in Tarkio with their three children, Megan, Trey, and Emily.

After being elected in 1992, he was elected as a State Senator for Missouri’s 12th District in 1994 and reelected in 1998.

“I enjoy doing this, I really do. I wasn’t trained in politics, I’m just a farmer,” said Graves. “I enjoy representing my district. Platte County is a perfect example of this district, which stands on their principles and it’s a pleasure to represent them in Washington,” stated Graves.

Broomfield graduated from William Jewell College in 1961 with a Bachelor of Arts and History Degree and a Life-time Teaching Certificate. He taught at North Kansas City High School for several years and is currently the owner of AA Store-All in Northmoor.

Broomfield served for eight years in the Missouri House of Representatives, and served two terms as Assistant Majority Floor Leader. He also served as the Western District Judge in Clay County for 14 years.

Broomfield and his wife Marsha reside in Gladstone. They are parents of six children: Andrea, Leah, Jennifer, Stephanie, Ryan, and Tracey; and have six grandchildren.




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