With the August primary election next Tuesday and a three-way race underway on the Republican ballot for the 160th Missouri State Representative seat, the Neosho Daily News decided to ask the three candidates a few question to let voters know more about each candidate. The contenders are Ben Baker, Neosho, Raleigh Ritter, Seneca, and David Osborn, Neosho. The Republican winner of Tuesday's primary will face Democrat Angela Thomas, Neosho, in November.

With the August primary election next Tuesday and a three-way race underway on the Republican ballot for the 160th Missouri State Representative seat, the Neosho Daily News decided to ask the three candidates a few question to let voters know more about each candidate. The contenders are Ben Baker, Neosho, Raleigh Ritter, Seneca, and David Osborn, Neosho. The Republican winner of Tuesday's primary will face Democrat Angela Thomas, Neosho, in November.

NDN: Tell our readers why you chose to run for state representative.
BAKER:  My heart is to serve the people of the 160th district with integrity, character and backbone. I have spent the better part of my life serving people in some facet in my community as well as around the world in missions and ministry. It's important that we have a principled conservative to represent
Southwest Missouri. It would be a great honor to give back to my community and my country by serving in the Missouri State House and representing the needs of our district.
OSBORN: I decided to run after numerous people continued to reach out to me and say we believe you would be the best person to represent the people of the 160th district. But, before I made the decision to file I inquired wise counsel from our current state representative, Bill Reiboldt. To be 100% that I would be a valid Republican candidate. By the end of our conservation, Bill encouraged me to file before leaving Jefferson City that day. I remember him saying to as I was leaving his office that "I would do very well in this race."
RITTER: I decided to run because I want to foster Economic Development in Southwest Missouri. We have lost too many great people to other states in search of good jobs. We need to create more good jobs here by expanding local business and agriculture and attracting new business, both large and small. As a state representative, I can make sure that legislation supports economic growth in Missouri and puts us on an even playing field with neighboring states. I also believe a representative is there to do one simple task - represent the people.

NDN: What qualifications of strengths do you believe you possess to bring to the office?
OSBORN: Common sense. 26 years of marriage to my wonderful wife, Kelli, training our two sons in Christian family values, 22 years of Missouri National Guard service to our state with leadership knowledge in time of war and peace, 47 years of living and farming in the 160th district, along with great listing and discernment skills from 15 years relational ship business building through a social business model. It will definitely give me an advantage representing our district in Jefferson City.
RITTER: I'm a businessman and rancher with a BA from Westminster College. I believe my experience in the business world will translate well when working with others in the State House. To accomplish anything in the House of Representatives you need 61 other representatives to vote with you. This means you have to work with folks you don't always agree with to achieve your goals. I have leadership experience in both business and boards that I have served on in getting groups together and negotiating deals.
BAKER: We need elected officials who understand what average hard-working Missourians go through every day and we need someone with a proven work ethic. As a small business owner, I understand firsthand the challenges of government overreach and unnecessary regulation. Lower taxes. cutting back red tape and reducing government regulation and bureaucracy are priorities of mine. As an avid firearms enthusiast and outdoorsman, the Second Amendment is an integral part of who I am, and the defense of our personal liberties requires constant vigilance. I have a proven record of leadership and a willingness to fight for what is right.

NDN: If elected, what are your goals as the 160th district state representative? What changes would you make?
RITTER: My main goal is fairly simple, economic development for this area. Other than that, I want to be a true representative for the 160th district. It will not be my job to tell you what you want from Jefferson City but rather to be out in the district finding out what legislation the people need.
OSBORN: First, is to keep in place everything that has been accomplished by Mr. Bill Reiboldt. Second goal would be to listen very closely to my elders that are there and have representation experience and as well as always seek wise counsel from people who have successfully represented our district before. Third goal is to perform the duty of representative of the 160th district without personal agenda, only seeking what is best for all the people of the 160th.
BAKER: The common thread among most people I have talked with while campaigning is that they simply want the government off their back and out of their pocketbooks, so I will always push legislation that will help make that happen. I will always fight every day to defend the right to life and against abortion services in our state. Another priority I have is to ensure that we uphold the Missouri Constitution and that every child has access to an excellent education. As mayor, I have always tried to be a good steward of taxpayer dollars and tried to make sure we are careful with spending. I will continue to do the same on the state level.