Amid local supporters attending the 73rd John C. Ryan Picnic sponsored by the Pettis County Republican Committee Thursday at Liberty Park, gubernatorial candidate Catherine Hanaway discussed her plans for making Missouri a better place by starting with labor and industry.
“I’m very concerned that there is not enough work in Missouri and our kids and grandkids wont be able to find jobs,” Hanaway said. “The government is the reason. Government can’t create jobs, but it can kill them and I think a lot of our government polices are killing jobs.”
Part of her plan for increasing jobs in the state is through support of a “Right to Work” bill. The Missouri House of Representatives passed such a bill in April, much to the chagrin of the state’s unions, but the legislation failed to clear before the end of session.
“I support right to work. There are so many states that are right to work now, particularly in the midwest, I think it puts us in an anti-competitive position. There are so many employers who just won’t come here because we are not right to work,” Hanaway said.
“Now in Missouri a relatively small percentage of the workforce is unionized, I think 10 percent. I hate to see that 10 percent cost the other 90 percent jobs. I think unions served a great purpose in the right context, when they really were fighting for safety issues and higher wages, but they have sort of gone way beyond that now.”
Elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 1998 and elected Republican Minority Leader in 2000, Hanaway was the first female speaker of the house, serving from 2002 until 2004. She was appointed U.S. Attorney for eastern Missouri in 2005, where she served until 2009. If elected in 2016 she will be the state’s first female governor.
She said if that happens, she plans to reduce political bickering by reaching across party lines to find a common ground.
“I think I had a good track record of that when I was speaker,” Hanaway said. “Our state is pretty close to 50-50. We’ve got super majorities in the legislature that are Republican and we’ve got a Democrat governor. I think the thing most Missourians have in common is that they are conservative. Rather than talking about party alliances, I think we need to talk about our conservative principles and what we have in common.
“And the other thing is, I think most Missourians are freedom loving and they just want the government to leave them alone. Most folks on the Democrat side that get elected in Missouri kind of feel that way too. Rather than going at it from a partisan angle, I think we’ve got to go at it on what we have in common.”
In other issues, Hanaway said she is a supporter of agriculture. She favors an “all of the above” approach to energy — she supports renewable energy and supports clean coal, a topic of some concern in Missouri at this time.
“I’d like to make Missouri known for being the leading agribusiness state in the country,” she said. “I think it’s towns like Sedalia, and the work ethic of people in towns like Sedalia, who can help us get to that point. I’m tired of Missouri being ranked lowest in everything. We need to win one.”
A strong proponent of the pro-life movement, she supports recent legislation requiring a 72 hour wait for abortions.
“I think it’s a good thing to make someone contemplate one of the biggest health care decisions they will ever make in their life,” Hanaway said. “I am very strongly pro-life and I don’t think you should do it period, but making someone step back and wait 72 hours seems entirely reasonable to me.”
With the election two years away, only Attorney General Chris Koster has thrown his hat into the ring at this time. What does Hanaway think of her opponent?
“He’s tall,” laughed Hanaway.
The John C. Ryan picnic is “an old-fashioned get together, just like it was when John Ryan started this,” said Carla Young, chairman of the Pettis County Republican Committee. The committee is a local affiliation that seeks to enlist qualified candidates and support them in their aspirations for political office.
Every year the John C. Ryan award is given to a local individual who has helped the committee in furthering their mission. This year’s recipient was Diane Hering.