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In anticipation of the August primary, KSMU invited all Republican and Democratic candidates running for Congress in the 7th district to sit down to discuss their backgrounds, priorities, and campaigns. In today’s spotlight is Republican Gary Nodler of Joplin. KSMU’s Missy Shelton reports.
Shelton: Joining me in the studio today is State Senator Gary Nodler. He’s a Republican running for Congress in the 7th district. Senator Nodler, tell us about your background.Nodler: Well, I started out as a senior in college, I ran Congressman Gene Taylor’s first campaign. After he was elected, I joined his staff and was with Congressman Taylor for 16 years, all in Missouri. And then I was appointed by former President George Herbert Walker Bush, Bush 41, to serve as the Regional Administrator for the United States Small Business Administration. And the last two years I was there, I represented that agency in a cabinet-level appointment at the Economic Policy Council at the White House, developing rural economic policy for the United States. Then, I was in the private sector for a number of years. I was a bank director, my wife Joncee and I built a cable television company in Seneca, Missouri, operated it and sold it, and I also had a corporate consulting firm for five years. I also worked for three years as executive director for the Monnett Chamber of Commerce. During that time, I held an official staff position with Congressman Blunt, and Senators Bond and Ashcroft. Then, in 2002, I was elected to the Missouri State Senate, and I’ve represented the people of the 32nd senatorial district until now. I finish my term in the Senate in December.Shelton: What are the top two or three issues you’re focusing on in your campaign?Nodler: The top issues are all inter-related. And they deal with economy. First, is the size, the magnitude of public and private debt. Public debt is a huge problem and that relates to joblessness. Then, a further complication is a regulatory environment in the banking industry that’s obstructing access to credit for small businesses and individuals. The administration seems to lack a basic understanding of the American economic system. They’ve imposed regulatory burdens that make it impossible for thousand of businesses across the country to obtain credit. I just believe if a business has never missed a payment on a loan and never been late, and has no cash flow problem threatening the repayment ability of the loan, it’s simply because real estate values have declined in their marketplace and the equity position on their collateral may have been retrenched somewhat, to classify those as substandard loans and cut off credit just doesn’t make sense. The banks are in a position now where they’re often not able to extend credit to their customers. On the other side of the coin, the Federal Reserve is making funds available to banks at practically no interest and then they’re paying for short term deposits, creating a positive cash flow for banks to keep their capital within the Federal Reserve system rather than making loans to customers. So, there’s two sides of the coin, but they both prevent capital formation, which is necessary for job creation. Additionally, there’s a problem with the value of our currency. When we went off the silver certificates, left the Gold Standard essentially, and let the dollar float, the theory was the value of our currency would be pegged to the size of our economy. With the U.S. economy representing 23 percent of the Gross Domestic Product, it’s clear that our currency value does not match our economic share. So, there’s some manipulation of the currency markets that is not helpful to the people of the United States.Shelton: What’s the primary funding source for your campaign?Nodler: Eighty percent or more of our funds come from individuals, the vast majority residents of the 7th Congressional district. We have received contributions from business leaders across the state. A number of CEOs from St Louis and Kansas City have contributed to the campaign as well. We do also have political action committee support from a number of organizations, again with large numbers of members in our district.Shelton: Are you working with any consultants?Nodler: We worked with Greg Keller and his consulting firm last year, in preparation for this year’s campaign. The only consulting firm we work with now is Wilson Strategies Research. They’re our polling firm. Greg Hartley is an unpaid campaign volunteer but he is a general campaign strategist and would be recognized as a political consultant but he’s not paid by the campaign.