Both candidates vying for the office of state representative of the 155th district attended Attorney General Chris Koster’s symposium on Lake of the Ozarks water quality this week at Tan Tar-A.


Rep. Wayne Cooper (R-Camdenton) held the seat representing Camden County for the past eight years, but has exhausted his term limits. Republican Diane Franklin and Democrat John Page agreed to interviews after watching the symposium from the gallery.


Both candidates vying for the office of state representative of the 155th district attended Attorney General Chris Koster’s symposium on Lake of the Ozarks water quality this week at Tan Tar-A.

Rep. Wayne Cooper (R-Camdenton) held the seat representing Camden County for the past eight years, but has exhausted his term limits. Republican Diane Franklin and Democrat John Page agreed to interviews after watching the symposium from the gallery.

John Page (D)
Page said he appreciated the spirt under which Koster (D) called the water quality symposium and assembled experts from around the state.

“I didn’t see any problem with being able to inform the people as to what the issues are and the concerns are. I think the biggest single thing is that we all understand that it’s got to be done together,” Page said, referring to any actions that the attorney general’s staff would recommend to state lawmakers in November. The Democratic hopeful wants pollution controls and tests to stay affordable.

“The big thing is, where is the money coming from? And that is something that is always going to be the bottom line, I think, for the next few years until the recessive economy situation improves,” Page said.

Affordability carries over into Page’s concerns for Lake of the Ozarks property owners planning to retire to the area in near future, especially if a push for a regionalized sewer system develops.

“I’m not sure how that’s going to be done. It’s going to have to be done very delicately because otherwise you are going to have people selling their house,” Page said.

Gov. Jay Nixon (D) addressed the audience at the start of the symposium on Tuesday. Nixon touted an inspection sweep of four hundred wastewater treatment systems that discharge into the lake, and stated that legal action against defective dischargers would continue.

“I think our problem is that this is our lake. (Governor Nixon) did say that this is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the state. I think that some people around the state need to remember that. This is our lake, and we need to be worried about it, we need to take care of it, but we need to be involved in that. I think in some cases some other people have come in and told us how and what we needed to do, and they weren’t sure what the problem was,” Page said.

Page said that a big part of the future state representative for the 155th district will be, “making sure that funding is available and what regulations come down are fair and equitable, that they don’t start targeting, and it doesn’t become such a big issue that it is the regular nightly news article around the state of Missouri about how bad this lake is. It’s still one of the best lakes in the country.”

Diane Franklin (R)
Franklin spoke of the prior knowledge of water quality she gained as president of the Lake Area Master Gardeners. Members of the University of Missouri-Extension program often discuss watershed conditions.

“We are already somewhat knowledgeable about the impact that taking care of the residences around the lake has on the body of water itself,” Franklin said.

The Republican hopeful wants the lake area’s different organizations with water quality concerns to stand together when the state government asks for a plan of action for the future.

“It seemed like perhaps folks from the different groups that are involved in the water quality issue needed a little more inclusion in what was leading up to the event,” Franklin said.

At the symposium, Franklin appreciated listening to several experts discuss some of the scientific facts behind the lake’s water quality reports. She found Koster’s involvement to be constructive.

“I was very delighted to hear that the attorney general is concerned about this as well, and that tells me that he’s listening. He’s listening to the folks at the Lake of the Ozarks as well as around the state. I think that this is going to be positive then, for us, that he’s going to help since he has taken this leadership role,” Franklin said.

Lake of the Ozarks tourism and commerce officials brought up the negative publicity that the area received when water testing results showed levels of E. coli bacteria higher than EPA standards. Franklin hopes for better publicity in the future, and feels that Koster can help by questioning the Department of Natural Resources’ reporting process.

“He is going to ensure that the information that goes out serves a positive public opinion about the lake,” Franklin said.

The Cooper staffer hopes that any water quality legislation in 2011 is well thought out.

“Legislation is a process that you can never count on what you are going to get after it gets through. So I want to be, of course, in on the legislation, aware of any legislation that may come up,” Franklin said. “My steering would be that we would work within the departments of the state along with our local groups to accomplish the steps that need to take place to ensure that the lake remains a very viable lake, and also an economic draw for the state of Missouri.”

Contact Rance Burger at rance.burger@lakesunonline.com.