UPDATED: Mueller, Unsicker vying for District 91 seat

Mueller, Unsicker are hoping to fill seat Kirkton is vacating

Greg Mueller

Greg Mueller

By Mike Anthony

Residents of Webster Groves and Shrewsbury are vying in the Tuesday, Nov. 8, election for the District 91 Missouri House seat being vacated by Jeanne Kirkton, D-Webster Groves.

Republican Greg Mueller, a member of the Webster Groves City Council, and Democrat Sarah Unsicker of Shrewsbury, a political newcomer, hope to succeed Kirkton, who is unable to seek re-election because of term limits.

• “Jobs. The working families of our district need secure jobs so they can save for their future. I want to help those families and neighbors who play by the rules but still have trouble getting by. I oppose tax-and-spend policies and wasteful government spending. We should reduce the government burden on businesses to encourage growth,” Mueller said.

• “Educating — protecting the excellent public schools in our district,” Unsicker said.

Mueller, 51, 309 Oakland Ave., Webster Groves, is employed as lead trial attorney and managing partner at Mueller Law Practice LLC. He and his wife, Lisa, have three school-age children.

Mueller was elected to the Webster Groves City Council in 2010 and re-elected in 2014. He said he is seeking election to the Missouri House because “I want to help those families and neighbors who play by the rules, but still have trouble getting by. I support citizens who need secure jobs to save money for their future. I support government actions that promote families, ensure good neighborhoods, invest in good schools, and create a vibrant economy …”

Unsicker, 40, 5008 Exeter Ave., Shrewsbury, and her husband, Tom, have two school-age children.

She said she is seeking election to the Missouri House “to have a positive impact in the community and the state.”

Mueller said, “I am against any legislation similar to the state laws that were recently struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. The recent Supreme Court decisions striking down limitations should be understood, and no similar legislation should be considered by the state.”

Unsicker said, “The government should not be in the business of making health care decisions for people.”

Mueller said, “I am against the death penalty, and I think the state should evaluate its application and disparate use.”

Unsicker said, “I don’t believe the government should be in the business of killing its own people.”

Mueller said, “I support a permit and background checks to conceal carry. The vote to override the governor’s veto of the gun bill highlights the divide in our state between rural — pro-gun — versus suburban — anti-gun — districts. I would have voted with the governor to require a permit and background checks to ‘conceal carry.’”

Unsicker said, “Yes. To make Missouri safer, training and a permit should be required to carry concealed weapons.”

Mueller said, “Changes are needed to the state funding formula for education. The state consistently underfunds urban and suburban school districts. Suburban property owners are burdened with funding their own school districts and also the rural and urban districts around the state.

“A more equitable solution exists. Our district is under-represented, especially in comparison to the large amount of tax dollars we send to the state. This needs to change.”

Unsicker said, “Yes. Right now, property is not assessed equally in the state, which leads to less state funding for our local districts. We need to lessen the burden on property owners.”

Mueller said, “Attendance by videoconferencing is only convenient for the public official, not the public. I understand the occasional need of an elected official to attend meetings remotely, but I do not support videoconferencing as a substitute for public service — in person. I do support videoconferencing for the public to watch local government in action.”

Unsicker said, “There should be limits on when a member can attend via videoconference or how often. It is important that members meet in person.”

Mueller said, “Nearly one out of six Missourians are already on Medicaid. I do not favor immediate expansion of Medicaid until after a new governor and a new state House have analyzed, reviewed and fixed the current Medicaid system where it is needed most.”

Unsicker said, “Yes. Hospitals cannot afford to continue to serve poor, uninsured patients, and all Missourians face consequences of this from reduced options for health care.”

Mueller said, “I do not favor TIFs, but I would not ban them. TIFs should be reserved for extraordinary circumstances where the private sector cannot move forward without public assistance or where the public goal requires government help. TIFs should not be usual practice. Particular attention has to be paid to the economic and tax ramifications on school taxing districts.”

Unsicker said, “TIFs encourage business development, but they are being abused in St. Louis County to the detriment of local governments. We need to encourage stable business growth.”

Mueller said, “I support any direction from voters, including a vote on changing our Constitution. The supermajority requirement is a well-reasoned law with protections for single-family homeowners. But as with any issue, voters should have final say.”

Unsicker did not respond to the question.

Mueller said, “I support transparency and accountability in government at all levels. Government exists to serve the public, not the other way around. We should keep government meetings and records public.”

Unsicker did not respond to the question.

Mueller said, “I am in favor of measured and temporary increases in the gasoline tax and the diesel fuel tax to repair defective infrastructure.”

Unsicker said, “Missouri needs publicly owned toll roads with the revenue generated going towards repairs and improvements to make Missouri safer.”

Mueller said, “I do not favor the use of the state’s eminent domain laws to take private property and give it to a private developer for private use and benefit. I would limit the ability of the state to take private property by eminent domain so that it may only occur with a well-defined public good or goal.”

Unsicker said, “Eminent domain is necessary under limited circumstances, but it should not be used for commercial development.”

Mueller said, “Nearly one out of six Missourians are already on Medicaid. I do not favor immediate expansion of Medicaid until after a new governor and a new state House have analyzed, reviewed and fixed the current Medicaid system where it is needed most.”

Unsicker said, “Yes. Hospitals cannot afford to continue to serve poor, uninsured patients, and all Missourians face consequences of this from reduced options for health care.”

Mueller said, “I oppose legislation to facilitate a merger. While I would consider such legislation, it would depend on the definable and ascertainable benefits to district residents, which are not likely.”

Unsicker did not respond to the question.

Mueller said, “I oppose any changes to the benefits of current beneficiaries. We must look closely at the system and make sure it is funded and sustainable. The state must consider options when the system become under-funded or unsustainable.”

Unsicker said, “I don’t know of any changes needed.”

Mueller said, “I would not support requiring recordings of all closed meetings. The additional capital expense and the on-going upkeep expense for such a requirement outweighs the potential benefit. A better solution is to restrict the number and duration of closed meetings.”

Unsicker said, “No.”

Mueller said, “I encourage casting votes in favor of the best policy, not the highest contributor. So, yes, I agree with constitutional limits on campaign funding. Limits must apply equally to all sources of contributions.”

Unsicker said, “Yes. With six- and seven-figure donations flowing to candidates, we need to limit the amount a candidate can receive from a donor.”

Mueller said, “The laws regarding student transfers need changing. Recent court challenges and judicial orders cost substantial sums of money, at the expense of students and families. Leadership begins at the state level. Sensible solutions include keeping students as close to home as possible, and keeping school districts are out of court.”

Unsicker said, “Yes. Right now, the law drains the resources of already-failing school districts.”

Mueller said, “South county, with the entire St. Louis region, needs leadership at the state level for economic development. As a member of the majority party, I will be part of the decision-making process for our district.

“We need fewer regulations. We need to encourage job growth and business expansion. We should invest in our roads, rivers — barge ports — and railways, including Great Rivers Greenway and Lemay Development Corp. We should increase small-business opportunity and reach out to trade partners, locally and globally.”

Unsicker said, “I would encourage more programs like Affton’s CAPS (Centers for Advanced Studies) program. I would encourage new business development.”