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Election year is here again, and Missouri’s August 3rd Primary is right around the corner. KSMU invited all Republican and Democratic Candidates running for the US House of Representatives from Missouri’s 7th district to sit down and talk to us about their campaigns. Today, we hear from Democratic Candidate Scott Eckersley, who spoke to KSMU’s Jennifer Moore.
Scott Eckerseley’s name became very familiar to Missouri newsrooms two and a half years ago when he took a lawsuit against then-Governor Matt Blunt’s administration, claiming he was wrongly fired for criticizing the governor’s policy of deleting emails. A row over open-records laws ensued. The suit ended in a settlement in which neither side admitted wrongdoing. Eckersley joined me in our studios to talk about his bid to replace his former boss’s father, Roy Blunt, in Congress.
Eckersley: I’ve got a lot of family in the area. I came here in 2000 as an intern for a local law firm, Lathrop & Gage. My father was CEO at St. John’s for a time, and I have an older brother living in the area with five children. So I’m a Springfieldian.
Moore: Why did you decide to run for Congress?
Eckersley: I think I’ve had a unique opportunity over the past few years to really take a close look and see something that maybe not everyone gets to see. And, you know, while a lot of people have throughout the last two and a half years...in a lawsuit I’ve been involved in after working for the Blunt administration—and after seeing some of the more unsavory sides of government, I felt like that also gave me a responsibility to do something about it.
And I say that as sincerely as possible, that truly, my motivation in running for this seat, is to put something into representative government that I have failed to see in these last two and a half years.
Moore: You served under a Republican governor in Jefferson City, and only recently came on board or joined hands with the Democratic party. How do you convince Democrats in southwest Missouri that you are a true Democrat?
Eckersley: I think folks are really ready for somebody to take on the task of representing them, not representing a party. I’m proud to be associated, and to be running as a Democrat. But make no mistake that I’m an independent guy. I have an independent streak that won’t be broken. I think I’ve shown that.
Moore: What are the top two or three issues you’re campaigning on?Eckersley: Well, certainly the economy I think is number one on most peoples’ list. With unemployment at 9.7 percent in the region, it’s on all of our minds. The fixes, taking a look at the goal the president has outlined to cut the federal defecit in half, I think is a good one. We need to return to an attitude of balancing our budget like folks here in southwest Missouri balance their checkbooks. And these are the types of principles we'll be standing for.
Moore: Who are your top few donors?Eckersley: We’re proud to boast Charlie O’Reilly’s name on that list. Also, Joe and Marie Carmichael have been great and generous. And I’m really encouraged by the response around the state with those who are familiar with me taking a stand to protect open government laws.
Moore: Have you decided to work with any consultants?Eckersley: We're working with two consultants: Nora Cox, [we're] pleased to have Nora, who has run successful campaings--overwhelmingly so with Sara Lampe…and then we're using another outside, D.C.-based consultant.
Moore: What do you think you have to offer as opposed to the other Democrat in the race, Tim Davis?
Eckersley: You’re hearing a lot of fervor across the country, and I think in this race as well, about folks pledging to take unpopular stands against special interests, and against big government and bad government. But what I really represent is somebody who has already done that. I don’t need to pledge it, because I’ve shown it. And it wasn’t quite as popular two and a half years ago when I did it.
Note: To view interviews with other candidates, click on "Road to the Capitol" on our website, www.ksmu.org.