Democrat Polizzi squares off against Republican imcumbent Bivins

Two former Mehlville school board members to battle in 97th District

Walt Bivins

Walt Bivins

By MIKE ANTHONY

Two former Mehlville Board of Education members are vying for the 97th District Missouri House seat in the Nov. 4 election.

Republican incumbent Walt Bivins of Oakville, who served two terms on the Mehlville school board, is being challenged in November by Democrat Jan Polizzi of Concord, a former state representative who served one term on the Mehlville school board.

Asked to identify the most important issue in the race, the candidates responded:

• “Property taxes. Homeowners are at risk of being taxed out of their homes,” Bivins said.

• “Rising health-care costs — major cost to business and No. 1 cause of bankruptcy for families,” Polizzi said.

Bivins, 69, 9 Idecker Court, 63129, is retired from the Dow Chemical Co. He and his wife, Ginger, have three grown children.

Bivins served on the Mehlville school board from 1997 to 2003. He is seeking a fourth two-year term to the 97th District seat because he wants to “use my education and past experience to represent my constituents to improve energy resources.”

Polizzi, 59, 5953 Shortleaf Court, 63128, is a registered nurse employed by the Nurses for Newborns Foundation. She and her husband, Peter, have a grown son.

Besides being on the Mehlville school board from 1995 to 1998, Polizzi served as state representative for the 97th District from 1993 to 1995. She is seeking election to the 97th District seat because “44 percent of children in Missouri lack health-care coverage. We have 700,000 uninsured in Missouri. I would like to restore coverage to the low-income women and children who lost coverage in 2005 and utilize the $1.5 billion lost in federal matching funds to restore those cuts. Economic development has been stagnant since 2001 and education funding has been pirated from MOHELA (Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority). Our current Legislature has lost touch with promoting the general welfare.”

The candidates gave the following responses to a Call questionnaire:

What is your position on abortion?

Bivins said, “I am pro-life and am endorsed by Missouri Right to Life.”

Polizzi said, “Despite the printed lies from a former opponent, I voted against tax funding for abortion when I was a state legislator. I have always worked for agencies that did not provide abortion and currently work for a faith-based initiative.”

What is your position on the death penalty?

Bivins said, “I am for the death penalty.”

Polizzi said, “I would support a moratorium to review updated evidence on justification.”

Would you support placing a constitutional amendment before voters that, if approved, would repeal the supermajority requirement for school-district bond issues?

Bivins said, “Yes and have made my support known.”

Polizzi said “I would support a repeal of the supermajority requirement for school-district bond issues.”

Are changes needed to the state’s foundation formula for funding education?

Bivins said, “Yes. Our urban schools are not receiving a fair share of state funding. I am currently studying legislative proposals to fix this.”

Polizzi said, “The foundation formula in 1993 was unconstitutional due to equity is-sues and an attempt to correct it was made to avoid a Supreme Court decision if the Legislature did not act. Inequity still has resulted between urban and rural areas and the formula needs to be revisited to avoid a new constitutional crisis.”

Are changes needed to the law allowing Missouri citizens to carry concealed weapons?

Bivins said, “No.”

Polizzi said, “There have been no reported problems with the conceal-and-carry laws to my knowledge.”

Are changes needed to the state’s current Open Meetings and Records Law?

Bivins said, “I have filed legislation to require audio recordings of ‘executive’ sessions and will do so again in the next legislative session.”

Polizzi said, “I recommend no changes except to improve access for the disabled.”

Are changes needed to the state’s eminent domain laws to prevent abuse?

Bivins said, “As a general philosophy, I feel the use of eminent domain should not be used for private development. When used for public purposes, it should be as a last resort.”

Polizzi said, “Eminent domain has been abused for private development. It should only be used to support the general welfare of the area such as roads, bridges, communications and other infrastructure needs.”

What do you propose to make health-care accessible and affordable to Missouri citizens?

Bivins said, “From what little I have heard, I like Sen. John McCain’s proposal to provide a tax credit or voucher for the purpose of purchasing private health insurance.”

Polizzi said, “Over-utilization of emergency for primary-care needs of the uninsured has raised the cost of health care and increased costs averaging $1,500 a year to those carrying insurance. Expanding the pool to spread the cost has been shown in other developed countries to support insurance for those who are uninsured with no difference in quality indicators. Employers should be given tax credits for providing insurance for their employees to incentivize participation, reduce sick time and increase productivity.”

What measures, if any, will you propose to encourage economic development in this area?

Bivins said, “I would be more than willing to work with our county councilman and businesses to provide state economic development resources for our area.”