Over the past few weeks, I have heard a lot about Chris Kelly. Kelly is the Democrat trying to unseat incumbent state Rep. Ed Robb, R-Columbia, for the 24th district House seat.
If you've listened to the radio lately, you know what commercials I'm talking about. If you haven't heard these commercials, just keep your ears open for the phrase "I'll be knocking."
For the past several weeks, we have been talking about national politics - this week I wanted to take our conversation to a more local level.
A few weeks ago, I met Chris Kelly, and today I want to compare Kelly and his campaign with Robb.
It only takes a five-minute drive through Columbia to see the legion of Robb signs. Robb, an economist and former MU professor, enjoys support from Republicans and Democrats across the 24th district. First elected in 2004, Robb has remained a popular Columbia figure and has delivered millions of dollars to MU and Columbia Public Schools. Robb has supported stem-cell research and other popular Boone County bioscience initiatives. He holds a doctorate in economics and serves as vice chairman of the House Budget Committee. His qualifications are impeccable and his record of achievement is clear.
A few weeks ago, I met Kelly knocking on doors in southern Columbia. On this hot Sunday afternoon, I met him as I was knocking on doors for Sen. John McCain. Even though he knew my political leanings, he was polite and we had a short conversation about the upcoming election. I asked him to explain why voters would replace Robb, an experienced state representative with a doctorate in economics, with Chris Kelly. Chris said that he supported stem-cell research and MU. He didn't know that Robb has strongly supported stem-cell research and delivered millions in state funds to the university.
Chris retorted by saying he would not engage in partisan bickering. I asked if he knew of any times when Robb had engaged in partisan bickering - again he was clueless.
If Chris Kelly expects to win by repackaging all of Ed Robb's ideas as his own, "clueless" does not even begin to describe his campaign plan.
Our founding fathers warned against electing men to serve as career politicians. Ed Robb represents everything public service should be in America. Robb is a successful economist and one of the nation's leading experts in state-government finance. He spent his life in the professional sector and now has turned to public service. I agree with the founding fathers - they were wise men and I think their advice is worth the listen.
Chris Kelly just doesn't meet the mark. To date, Chris Kelly's campaign has done nothing more than repackage Rep. Robb's ideas and achievements. I call on Chris Kelly to define the real reasons he wants this office. He should explain his motives and describe what he would do differently than Rep. Robb.
If you support Chris Kelly, I would like to hear from you. E-mail me firstname.lastname@example.org or write a letter to this paper. I hope to see your input next week