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The race for the 138th legislative district is a heated one. It's the only Springfield seat in state House of Representatives held by a Democratic incumbent. KSMU's Missy Shelton recently spoke with the incumbent Sara Lampe and her Republican challenger Steve Helms and files this report.
Springfield residents who live in the 138th legislative district have two distinct choices in the upcoming election.
There's the incumbent, Democrat Sara Lampe, a retired long-time educator and expert in gifted education. She says Republicans went too far in cutting Medicaid and didn't go far enough in funding public schools.
Lampe's opponent is Republican Steve Helms, a businessman who is entering the political arena as a candidate for the first time.
Helms says if elected, he'll have a broad focus: making government work better.
Both candidates in this race have spent a lot of time discussing two issues: healthcare and education.
On the issue of education, the candidates disagree over legislation that's been around in Missouri for several years. It would create tax credits for donations made to scholarships that would go to qualifying students in failing public schools. The students could use the scholarships to go to private schools.
Lampe says the legislation is an attempt to bring vouchers to Missouri and siphon money away from public schools.
Republican Steve Helms says the situation in St Louis and Kansas City schools is so dire that the scholarship program is worth discussing.
Lampe says she doesn't want to limit options for children in failing public schools.
But she says there's a way to do it without putting tax dollars into scholarships for private schools.
On the issue of healthcare, Lampe says the Republican majorities in the House and Senate were wrong to cut Medicaid to save money.
She says there were other ways to deal with the issue more effectively.
But Helms defends his fellow Republicans, saying they made tough but necessary decisions to improve Medicaid.
This and other election-related reports are online at KSMU dot org.