Web exclusive: Two vie for open District 66 seat

Genise Montecillo

Genise Montecillo

Staff report

Two candidates are vying Nov. 2 for the District 66 state House seat.

Republican Bill Hartzog and Democrat Genise Montecillo are running for the state House seat being vacated by incumbent District 66 Rep. Michael Vogt, D-Affton.

Vogt cannot run again because of term limits.

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

• “Job creation must be the No. 1 priority. As I walk the district and talk to residents I see the impact of high unemployment rates. People are struggling to provide for their families and too many people are losing their homes. Job creation is critical to economic recovery.”

Hartzog did not respond to a Call questionnaire.

Montecillo, 47, 6308 Hurstgreen Lane, 63123, is employed as a special education teacher with the Special School District. She currently is assigned to Lindbergh High School, where she teaches modified social science classes. She and her husband, Joseph, have an adult son.

Montecillo, who has not held elective office, said she is seeking office because “(a)s a teacher of 25 years and as a mother, I have seen the impact state government has on families’ daily lives. I am concerned that some legislators are out of touch. I want to bring my direct experiences to Jefferson City. I have met and listened to the people of the 66th District and we share the same desire for common sense and strong leadership to put people back to work, educate our children, protect our communities, and move the state in a direction to compete successfully in the global economy.”

Montecillo gave the following responses to the Call questionnaire:

What is your position on abortion?

Montecillo said, “We must focus on education and prevention to make abortions unnecessary but it is a woman’s medical choice/decision that should be left between herself, her family and her physician.”

What is your position on the death penalty?

Montecillo said, “I oppose the death penalty.”

What is your position on tax increment financing? Are changes needed to this law?

Montecillo said, “Tax increment financing decisions should be made on a case by case basis according to the best interests of the community.”

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

Montecillo said, “Yes.”

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

Montecillo said, “Yes. I believe there is agreement that the current formula is complex and confusing. Changes are necessary to make the formula fair and transparent.”

Are changes needed to the law allowing Missouri citizens to carry concealed weapons? If so, why? Or why not?

Montecillo said, “I would like to see more emphasis on training and periodic recertification requirements.”

Are changes needed to the state’s current Open meetings and Records Law? If so, what would you propose?

Montecillo said, “I would support changes that would increase transparency in government.”

What do you propose to solve the state’s budget woes? What do you propose to generate additional revenue for the state?

Montecillo said, “First and foremost we must get Missourians back to work. Wasteful spending must be eliminated and we must protect and increase revenue sources in ways that do not additionally burden Missouri citizens.”

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

Montecillo said, “Yes, eminent domain should be utilized when only absolutely necessary and homeowners’ rights must be protected.”

The legislature several years ago approved legislation protecting Missouri residents from Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation of SLAPP lawsuits? Should the provisions of this legislation be expanded? If so, what would you propose?

Montecillo said, “Anti-SLAPP laws can protect free speech rights while preserving access to the courts. I support free speech that encourages civic participation and would vote for legislation that supports these ideas.”

Are changes needed to the Public School and Education Employee Retirement Systems of Missouri? If so, what would you propose?

Montecillo said, “I will vote to protect the Public School and Educational Retirement Systems of Missouri and all pensions. If changes or proposals can be made to save money without cutting benefits or taking away pensions, I would be open to such changes.”

Would you support amending the state’s Sunshine Law to require public governmental bodies make audio recordings of all closed meetings? Such recordings would not be available to the public or press.

Montecillo said, “I support transparent government but if recordings of closed meetings would not be available to public or press I question the costs incurred to record meetings at this time.”

Do you agree with the direction the state is moving under Gov. Jay Nixon?

Montecillo said, “As a state legislator I intend to work to create jobs and maintain high educational systems in order to improve our states’ economy and look forward to working with Governor Nixon to meet these goals.”