“An impressive, forward-thinking leader who would bring new energy and a commitment to representing all Missourians.”
KANSAS CITY, MO – Today, The Kansas City Star endorsed Alissia Canady for Missouri Lieutenant Governor. The Star says that Alissia is “a rising star in the Democratic Party” and “an impressive, forward-thinking leader who would bring new energy and a commitment to representing all Missourians to this often overlooked post.”
More information about Alissia, the job of the Lieutenant Governor, and voting in Missouri is available at www.CanadyforMissouri.com.
In the race for Missouri lieutenant governor, a status-quo incumbent faces a rising star in the Democratic Party.
Mike Kehoe, a Republican from the St. Louis area,is running against former Kansas City Councilwoman Alissia Canady, a Democrat whose strong but unsuccessful bid for mayor drew notice in political circles last year.
While Kehoe has substantial experience in Jefferson City, Canady is an impressive, forward-thinking leader who would bring new energy and a commitment to representing all Missourians to this often overlooked post.
Canady is The Starʼs choice for lieutenant governor over Kehoe, who was appointed to the job in 2018 by Missouri Gov. Mike Parson after then-Gov. Eric Greitens resigned in disgrace.
Canadyʼs candidacy will test the question: Are Missouri voters finally ready to elect the first African American to statewide office? They ought to be. Canadyʼs resume is impressive. She is an outside-the-box thinker who grew up on Kansas Cityʼs East Side.
She started working full-time at 16 and purchased her first home before she was 21.
On the Kansas City Council, Canady, an attorney, started a program to aid elderly and disabled residents with home repair. And she worked to help Kansas City Public Schools families avoid eviction.
Canady said that as lieutenant governor, she would work with Republican leadership in the legislature to find solutions for reducing gun violence.
“The issues that matter to Missourians are not partisan,” Canady told The Star Editorial Board. “Iʼve demonstrated … Iʼm not tied to Black issues. Iʼm not tied to partisan issues.
Iʼm tied to responding to the interest and needs of my constituents.”
Canadyʼs agenda includes improving early childhood education, reducing gun violence, and addressing the issues that lead to crime: substance abuse, mental health challenges and hopelessness. She is a strong proponent of Medicaid expansion in the state, which was approved by Missouri voters in August and now must be implemented by lawmakers.
In this campaign, Canady has chided Kehoe and Parson for their lackluster response to the coronavirus pandemic.
As cases continue to surge in the state, the lieutenant governor has been invisible in the fight to slow the spread of the disease, Canady said.
“What has he done?” she said. “Where has he been?”
Kehoe, who has said his priorities for the next four years include high-quality education, workforce development, improved infrastructure and tourism, pushed back on the notion that he abrogated his responsibilities during the last several months. He said proof of his work could be found on the internet.
“Iʼve been out trying to make sure Missourians are safe,” he said.
Like the governor, Kehoe has resisted the statewide mask mandate recommended by the White House COVID-19 task force. And he was reluctant in an interview with The Star Editorial Board to distance himself from the governor, who has failed every leadership test during this pandemic.
Advocate for the elderly
In Missouri, the lieutenant governor is the official advocate for the elderly, according to the state Constitution.
Kehoe, though, has been unwilling to take responsibility for coronavirus outbreaks in Missouri nursing homes.
At one nursing facility in Kansas City, three deaths and more than 140 cases of COVID-19 among patients and staff have been reported since mid-September.
Ninety-eight residents and 44 employees have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Garden Valley Healthcare Center. Hundreds more seniors across the state have died as coronavirus cases continue to multiply.
“The issue is … people are not following proper protocol,” Kehoe said.
Kehoe has provided less-than-satisfactory answers to queries about questionable personal and family business deals.
He waived off concerns about a neighbor he introduced to Missouri Department of Corrections Director Anne Precythe 2017.
Within months, the neighborʼs company won a lucrative no-bid state contract for management training worth nearly $1 million, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
“I asked my neighbor… to do this for free for her, which he did for six months,” Kehoe said. “Nobody ever checked this fact out.”
Kehoe also dismissed questions about an FBI probe related to a controversial deal to purchase ambulances in Cole County. The Post-Dispatch reported that Kehoe called the purchasing process unfair and backed challengers to two Cole County Commission incumbents after they decided to buy emergency vehicles from a Canadian competitor instead of the lieutenant governorʼs brother, who owns an ambulance company in Osage County.
“Iʼve never been contacted by the FBI,” Kehoe said.
Who decides the endorsements?
Members of The Kansas City Star editorial board interview political candidates, as well as advocates and opponents of ballot measures. The editorial board is comprised of experienced opinion journalists and is separate from The Starʼs newsroom.
Members of The Star editorial board are: Colleen McCain Nelson, Derek Donovan, Dave Helling, Melinda Henneberger, Toriano Porter and Michael Ryan.
A former state senator, Kehoe is well- connected in Missouri politics and well-versed on the issues. In a campaign season when many Missouri Republicans have ducked debates and tough interviews, Kehoe deserves credit for answering every question from The Star Editorial Board.
But the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the governorʼs inability to meet this moment, and Kehoe has remained in lockstep with Parsonʼs head-in-the-sand strategy.
Missouri needs to elect a lieutenant governor who would follow the science in aggressively combating the coronavirus outbreak and who would advocate for all Missourians, not just those with the same political ideology.
Alissia Canady is the clear choice, and she has earned The Starʼs endorsement.