The following five candidates are running for the position of State Representative 124. They will be present on the August 4 ballot in Camden County.

The following five candidates are running for the position of State Representative 124. They will be present on the August 4 ballot in Camden County,

Luke Hagedorn

I am a lifelong resident of the Lake of the Ozarks. I was born in Osage Beach and attended Camdenton R-III schools K-12. I graduated from Missouri State University with a BS in Education. I began down a path toward becoming an educator like both of my parents. My first job was in a restaurant as a teenager, and I continued working in restaurants through college. Upon graduation, I took a management position, thinking it would be temporary while searching for a teaching job. Instead, I found my passion in the service industry. This industry has afforded me opportunities including mentoring young people early in their own careers, building a business that attracts people from all walks of life, and working as on-air radio talent. I am eager to build on my experience in the Lake Community and represent the interests of the residents of District 124 in Jefferson City.

1) What do you feel are the top 3 most challenging issues facing the General Assembly and how do you plan to address them?

Time always seems to be in short supply, especially as each session winds down in the Capital. The personal, societal, and economic impacts of Covid 19 disrupted the 2020 legislative session, leaving a great deal of unfinished business. The upcoming Missouri General Assembly will have to prioritize the most important issues impacting residents to give the issues the full consideration they deserve. In particular, District 124 needs a strong voice in Jefferson City to advocate for a thriving tourism industry at the Lake that will fuel our unique economic engine, which ultimately benefits the entire state. (2) Missouri’s constitution requires a balanced budget, so shortfalls in revenue will require legislators to make tough choices. Decisions about how to allocate the budget in the upcoming session will impact schools, healthcare, and jobs. Legislators will need creative ideas for increasing revenue combined with common sense belt tightening. (3) Unnecessary regulations make it harder than it should be to do business in Missouri. Staying on top of changing rules and making sure the business is in compliance with ones already in place is time spent that could otherwise be used to grow the business. A wholesale review of regulations is needed to drive innovation.

2) Would you be in favor or opposed to a casino at the Lake of the Ozarks?

In theory, I support legislation that will drive business to the Lake and increase jobs. However, there is a lack of detail surrounding initiative petitions pushed by special interests to bypass the legislative fact-finding process. 

With the little information available today, I believe that a casino at the Lake would cannibalize revenues from our small local businesses. For some background to the voters, Representative Rocky Miller began work on a bill last session that was a preemptive measure to prevent an initiative petition to allow a casino to be built on the Lake. His bill, had it passed, and then passed by the vote of the people of Missouri, would have opened up the Osage River along with the Mississippi and Missouri rivers as allowable waterways for casinos. It would not have allowed for any more casino licenses to be issued by the state, and all licenses available are currently in use. By going through the Legislative process, including committee hearings and floor debate, important questions could be asked and answered. If models and data show that the revenue is a separate source, I would examine that to see if would indeed be a zero sum gain for the Lake.

3) In office, state elected officials serve on various committees.  If elected, what committees would you serve on in the General Assembly to best represent your constituents?

Understanding that freshman legislators rarely get to choose their preferred committee assignments, I can identify some committees that would be ideal for a representative of the 124th district: (1) Tourism - With the district encompassing such a large portion of the Lake of the Ozarks, I would ask to be assigned to the Tourism Committee. Tourism spending is one of the few expenditures the state makes that actually brings more money back into state coffers. (2) Elementary and Secondary Education - My family's background in education and my own studies in college makes me especially qualified for this committee. I would fight to protect the best interests of students and teachers. (3) Workforce Development - My decades of experience in business has made me fully aware of the value of a productive workforce that has the skills and competencies needed by employers. The Committee is able to foster partnerships between business people and educators that will serve to develop a robust workforce for our future while giving young people the pride and dignity that comes from working a job to provide for themselves and their families.

4) How do you best represent your constituents with opposing views?

I am a consensus builder. I have always been able to work with people from all walks of life and various political views. At my workplace, I interact with people, including customers and staff, from all over the region and with wide-ranging backgrounds. I am able to empathize with all types of viewpoints and find common ground. At their core, I find that most people share with me the things I value most - the importance of family, integrity, and personal responsibility, but we all come to the table with different perspectives and experiences. I have consistently been able to bring different people together and accomplish goals that benefit everyone. Today’s political climate is so divisive and polarized. My hope is to bring back civility to the political process. I believe that a primary job of a State Representative is to provide constituent services. Citizens often need advocacy or just simple guidance to navigate state agencies and departments. Regardless of their political viewpoints, I will always give my best efforts to all the constituents of the 124th District in my capacity as their representative.

5) What was the motivation for you to run for this office and what sets you apart as a candidate from your opponents?

I have a desire in my heart to serve the community that has done so much for my family and me. I was born here. I went to school here. I have worked here. And, most importantly, the Lake is my home. I filed for this seat at the end of March, as we were in the midst of the shutdown. The business that I manage was closed, and the vast majority of our staff was out of work. Seeing the anxiety and hopelessness of the people in the service industry, who are normally so resilient, spurred me to action. We need leadership in Jefferson City now, more than ever. I have the disposition and work ethic to help the residents of the 124th District regroup and move forward in these uncertain times. The 101st general assembly will be met with tough choices. I will be an advocate for the Lake, to make sure our district is protected and not taken for granted. My deep care for and understanding of the Lake area and its people - plus my experience in business and politics - make me the best candidate to represent the people of Camden and Miller counties.

6) What is your position on Medicaid expansion in the state?

The main problem with expanded Medicaid has continued to be funding. Especially troubling would be Missouri taxpayers' responsibilities to fund the entitlement program over time. I understand there is a gap in coverage for a segment of Missourians; however, I don’t think this is the long term solution. Gradually, Missourians would have a larger fiscal responsibility to fund expansion, that money would have to come from somewhere, either raising taxes or cutting other vital programs. There are other issues regarding Medicaid expansion, as it is being presented currently. For example, a limited number of providers accept Medicaid patients. This could lead to longer wait times to see the doctor especially in rural areas. Additionally, some providers may cap the number of Medicaid patients they see. However, if I am elected, and Amendment 2 has passed, I will respect the will of the voters, and begin the work of prioritizing budget items in a way that will reduce waste and benefit the taxpayers of the 124th District.

Benny Thomas

My name is Dr. Benny Earl Thomas. I have lived in Lake Ozark all my adult life. I moved here with my wife Beverly in 1980.  We have raised three daughters who all attended the School of The Osage.  Chris- is a Lawyer. She is currently head of stragetic planning at K. U. Medical Center. Julie- She is a practing Attorney in Waterberry Conn.  Amanda-Is chairman of the Department of Phrensic Psychartic. M.U. Columbia, She is also a Yale Fellow and an Adjuant professor at Yale University.  My wife Beverly is the 1st. District Comm of Camden County. She is running for re-election.  I am a Physician, Pharmacist, and Banker.  I have served as a Village Trustee in The Village of 4 seasons. I have been involved in Politics for 43 years. Starting with Jack Danforth. I am a Shriner, Elk, and Ducks Unlimited past Chairman. I am a member of the Christan Church. I have owned business in both Miller and Camden County. If elected I will base my service on Education, Experience and Common Sence.  I love this Lake Area. When I was a child, Adults would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up? My answer was "I don't know, but I am going to live at the Lake of the Ozarks". Tam 4th on the ballot but I will be first in service. 

1) What do you feel are the top 3 most challenging issues facing the General Assembly and how do you plan to address them?

A. Medicaid Expansion,-Await Voters Decision.  If passed to administer the program efficiently and fairly.   B.  Co-void 19-  Follow the experts until a vaccine and or treatment becomes available. C. Economic Recovery  Aid the recovery of the economy by keeping taxes low and reduce regulation.

2) Would you be in favor or opposed to a casino at the Lake of the Ozarks?

We must make sure that new gambling expansion be placed under the control of the legislature.  We do not want expansion by initiative petition which could totally change the Law with unforeseen consequences.

3) In office, state elected officials serve on various committees.  If elected, what committees would you serve on in the General Assembly to best represent your constituents?

Healthcare and Tourism-This drives the Lake Economy and we currently have no member on this committee from the Lake area.

4) How do you best represent your constituents with opposing views?

Politics involves two phases.  One is campaigning for office and the other is governing.  They are both different.  I will represent all voters equally using my education, experience and common sense.

5) What was the motivation for you to run for this office and what sets you apart as a candidate from your opponents?

I have been blessed in my life.  It is my time to give back to this wonderful country.  I am local and have the education experience and good old Ozark common sense.

6) What is your position on Medicaid expansion in the state?

If passed by the voters I will enforce it fairly and  efficiently.  The voters have the final say and I will respect their vote.

Lisa Thomas

Dr. Thomas earned a BA in both Biology and Psychology and her MA in Clinical Psychology from Washington University in St. Louis. She attended medical school at Mizzou where she completed her psychiatry residency, followed by two fellowships in Child/Adolescent Psychiatry and Forensic Psychiatry. As a psychiatrist with nearly 20 years of clinical experience in a variety of settings, Dr. Thomas most recently worked for the Veterans Administration, utilizing telemedicine to expand the reach of outpatient clinic service to veterans living a considerable distance from the main hospital. She is currently the Medical Director of the Missouri Physicians Health Program, serves on the Governing Council of the Missouri State Medical Association, and is a member of the American Medical Association. She is also actively involved in the Missouri Republican Party, the Pachyderm Club, and the Federated Republican Women. Dr. Thomas was a delegate for Donald Trump here in Missouri and attended the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in 2016.

1) What do you feel are the top 3 most challenging issues facing the General Assembly and how do you plan to address them?

Coronavirus--Citizens are currently being subjected to unprecedented loss of liberty under the guise of ensuring safety.  While it is important to take the threat of Coronavirus seriously, we need legislators like myself who have medical expertise and will support recommendations based on scientific evidence rather than a political agenda.  We cannot destroy our economy and lifestyle by instituting overreaching mandates on business as well as everyday life activities.   Jobs--All Missourians are interested in creating and maintaining good paying jobs.  This is particularly critical right now as reactions to Coronavirus have hindered or even crippled certain occupations.   As a fiscal Conservative, I support smaller government, lower taxes, and less regulation.  By promoting a business-friendly environment, we allow entrepreneurs and business owners to be do what they do best and be successful.  Everyone benefits!  I also support workforce development programs and the expansion of rural broadband as these directly impact economic opportunities.   Budget--There is no magic pot of money.  All revenue comes from the people.  I will NOT raise taxes.  Thankfully, Missouri has a balanced budget requirement.  Difficult choices do need to be made to apportion our set amount of funding, but I am committed to maximizing the benefit of the money we have.  One way to do this is to cut waste, fraud, and abuse--not just say it, but actually do it!!!

2) Would you be in favor or opposed to a casino at the Lake of the Ozarks?  

I am in favor of whatever the voters in District 124 determine will be most beneficial to our economy.  If, as it appears, that a rule change allowing the possibility of a gambling casino on the Osage River is inevitable, then I support this being accomplished through standard legislative process rather than an initiative petition.  The former would preserve the involvement of the Gaming Commission and also maintain local control.  The bill introduced by Representative Rocky Miller was essentially a preemptive strike to ensure that elected lawmakers wrote, debated, and adjusted the language of that rule change and we would not be saddled with the wording as proposed by an outside business investor group.  The investor group's initiative petition would have resulted in a permanent change to our State Constitution, without legislative scrutiny, and there could be unforeseen consequences that the citizens would be stuck with.  

3) In office, state elected officials serve on various committees.  If elected, what committees would you serve on in the General Assembly to best represent your constituents?

While I am willing and able to serve on any committee to which I am assigned, I will ask specifically to be placed on the Health and Mental Health Committee.  I am a psychiatrist with special expertise in children, veterans, and telemedicine.  I would like to put my background, work experience, and unique insights to good use on this committee.  I would also ask to serve on the Tourism Committee. I have an excellent working relationship with their new Executive Director, Stephen Foutes.  He and I have collaborated for years through the Missouri State Medical Association where Mr. Foutes functioned in a variety of roles and I remain a member of the leadership Council.  Missouri's top 2 economic drivers are Agriculture and Tourism.  I will be a tireless advocate for our Show-Me State, and in particular the destinations, venues, and natural wonders that are present in District 124.

4) How do you best represent your constituents with opposing views?

As the State Representative for District 124, I will have been elected to be the spokesperson for EVERY citizen in the district, regardless of their political or any other persuasion/viewpoint.  I am open-minded and respect all people.  I fervently believe in the phrase that we are "all created equal."  As a psychiatrist, have special training and experience in working with people of all ages/sexes/races/religions/etc., in any number (individuals, groups, the public at large), in a variety of settings (in-person as well as in writing or on the phone or video conference).  I will be accessible to all of my constituents and look forward to engaging in discussion and collaboration such that our District and Missouri continue to move forward with great success.  Our differences do not divide us, but rather make us richer, and listening to then accommodating differing views will only strengthen us.

5) What was the motivation for you to run for this office and what sets you apart as a candidate from your opponents?

As a Christian, Constitutional, Conservative, I had become increasingly concerned about the erosion of our fundamental liberties in recent years.  After semi-retiring from full-time medical practice several years ago, I had more time to devote to politics.  I was a Trump delegate in Missouri and had the amazing opportunity to attend the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in 2016.  Subsequently, I have campaigned for multiple candidates (local to national) until deciding that I needed to run for office myself.  I believe that my energy, education, leadership skills, and determination make me the right candidate to best represent and advocate for District 124.

6) What is your position on Medicaid expansion in the state?

I am against Medicaid expansion.  We cannot afford it.  It has been projected to cost our state almost $350 million extra each year!  Expansion does not save rural hospitals.  It also does not ensure that currently uninsured people would be covered or actually receive healthcare services.  Medicaid fraud would almost certainly increase.  There are alternatives to expanding Medicaid that would not bankrupt Missouri.  Health insurance needs to be made available across state lines.  Expansion of telemedicine services would offer increased access at lower cost.  Promotion of Direct Primary Care practices as well as utilization of health-sharing ministry programs result in cost reductions.  There are many other avenues to provide access to high quality, reasonably priced healthcare for our citizens rather than allowing the government to dictate a "one-size fits all approach."  I trust my fellow Missourians to make choices that best fit their healthcare needs.  Of course, this assumes that there ARE choices from which to pick!

Duell Lauderdale

A 7th generation Missourian whose family came to Missouri with Daniel Boone at the turn of the 19th century, Duell Lauderdale, 29, is a staunch defender of the Constitution who will fight to protect Life, Liberty, and Property. He graduated from Mizzou with a double major in political science and anthropology. Since then, he has worked as a realtor, served as a Republican central committeeman, supported conservative causes with numerous organizations, and held various staff roles at the Capitol. Duell currently works as legislator assistant to Missouri State Representative Ron Hicks, and is the only staff person in the Missouri Capitol currently serving as secretary for three committees simultaneously. On July 5th, 2019, Duell married the love of his life Perla (Melendez) Lauderdale. Today they live in Lake Ozark, Missouri near the world-famous Bagnell Dam Strip.

1) What do you feel are the top 3 most challenging issues facing the General Assembly and how do you plan to address them?

1. Making a budget in the face of COVID-19 and the possible expansion of Medicaid. As a budget hawk, I will look to make sure that the state budget goes towards the most essential state-level government duties like education, infrastructure, and law enforcement. I will stand against tax increases and new taxes. 2. Working to reduce regulations and licensure requirements that hinder entrepreneurialism here in Missouri to increase job opportunities. In other words, we need to expand economic freedom. 3. Defending the Bill of Rights and protecting the cause of individual liberty. Since the beginning of our democracy, legislators who don't understand the importance of individual rights have time and time again have tried to pass legislation that infringes on those. I don't know in what form such legislation will come, but it always seems to. I will use a simple gauge for determining if legislation respects rights. Does the legislation work to protect life, liberty, or property? If yes, it might be permissible. If no, then I might not support it. Government has crept into far too many sectors of American life, I want to stop it.

2) Would you be in favor or opposed to a casino at the Lake of the Ozarks?

I am in favor of putting the issue to a vote of the people across the state. For me, I have a view of business freedom that says the state should engage in minimal interventionism. That would include the opening of gambling establishments. I don't personally like to gamble, I don't believe it is a responsible use of my money. I also rarely drink alcohol and don't care very much for the problems alcohol causes to society, but I wouldn't advocate a redo of the prohibition era. Most who do engage in gambling do so responsibly. Missouri has great resources for those who develop problems with gambling, including a 24/7 helpline and a Problem Gamblers List. Our area is in need of year round work and people are hurting. Especially in the wake of COVID-19, it would be incredibly difficult for me to stand against casino development when people need opportunities to make their livelihood. I prefer they work at a casino to being dependent on the government.

3) In office, state elected officials serve on various committees.  If elected, what committees would you serve on in the General Assembly to best represent your constituents?

I recently said in a recent forum that I would ask to be on the Homeland Security, Higher Education, and Capitol Security Committees. My reason being that I have experience as the Secretary for each of these committees as a Legislator Assistant at the State Capitol. That said, I believe I would also like to be on the Budget Committee. As a budget hawk and strong fiscal conservative, it would be a privilege to put in the long hours helping design our state's budget and working to prioritize spending on the most important duties of government.

4) How do you best represent your constituents with opposing views?

I pledge to always listen and find ways to work together. I have talked to every Democrat or Independent I have met at the door and assured them I will always be respectful and maintain a constructive dialogue. I think I've earned a lot of votes that way too. I don't know when America became a place where people that disagreed had to also dislike each other. We need to agree to disagree more than ever these days, and I mean it genuinely.

5) What was the motivation for you to run for this office and what sets you apart as a candidate from your opponents?

I was personally motivated by the ever growing state and federal governments. Every year the government spends more, makes more laws, and introduces more regulations. The average American is now under such a burden of rules and regulations that they are entirely lacking opportunities to "pull themselves up by the bootstraps" as some might say. I want less government, so Missourians have more opportunity. Furthermore, as a young and recently married American who is planning to start a family in the near future, it is important to me to be an example to fellow young people. Conservative ideas like Constitution, Rule-of-Law, Free Enterprise, Faith, and Family are what built this country and these values can't be lost if we want to keep it. In terms of what I bring that sets me apart from opponents, one word: Experience. As somebody who has worked in the State Capitol for years, I understand the legislative process intimately. I believe in term limits, but they create what is known as a lack of institutional knowledge. The actual representatives are in the process long enough to really get "good" at it, so to speak, so lobbyists and staffers tend to actually be some of the most influential in the building. As a current staffer, I have the skills and ability to jump right into the job and be effective for the people.

6) What is your position on Medicaid expansion in the state?

We should not expand Medicaid. I tell every person I talk to, it is wrong to believe anything less than that every human deserves health care in their time of need. I don't mean that from the socialist perspective, I mean it on a moral level. There are different ways of getting to that goal. I believe free-markets are the way we achieve quality, affordable healthcare for all. The Surgery Center of Oklahoma, where they offer surgeries for a flat rate fee at a fraction of the cost insurance companies pay, is a great example of what a free market health care system might offer. We need to focus on reforms that get the government out of the way of the healthcare industry. Furthermore, Medicaid expansion relies on the federal government paying up on a large percentage of the cost. Right now the federal government is $25 trillion in debt. I think there may unfortunately come a time when their offering runs out and Missouri is stuck with the tab. No on Amendment 2.

Bernie Mowinski

I have a combined Total of 47 Years serving Our Country.  I am a Chief Master Sergeant Untied States Air Force Retired.  I worked for the General Services Administration and the Department of Energy.  as a Contracting Officer / Industrial Property Mgr. I am an active / life member @ the Am Vets, DAV, Legion, VFW, Eagles, Elks and a resident of Sunrise Beach 29 years.

1) What do you feel are the top 3 most challenging issues facing the General Assembly and how do you plan to address them?

WE DO WHAT WE DO TOGETHER The Voter must grab the thought that I represent Them. They inform me of their priorities and through intense discussions We All decide how to proceed. Top 3 issues today Corona... Riots...Safety..

2) Would you be in favor or opposed to a casino at the Lake of the Ozarks?

With and only with my ideas on a Casino will. I favor having one here @ Lake of the Ozarks

3) In office, state elected officials serve on various committees.  If elected, what committees would you serve on in the General Assembly to best represent your constituents?

Veteran Affairs. Tourism. Workmen's Comp.  Dept Corrections 

4) How do you best represent your constituents with opposing views?

through meetings discussion comprise working together..

5) What was the motivation for you to run for this office and what sets you apart as a candidate from your opponents?

I want to truly represent the average man / woman I feel that are too many professionals in office pushing their own agenda. I have a military / civil service background I have always sought to perform my assigned duties. I believe government should be for the people and will I continue to serve the State of Missouri

6) What is your position on Medicaid expansion in the state?

If this question is about Affordable Care Act. Then Why isn't is Affordable. Repeal it an start over, control pharmaceutical companies revise the FDA. Food Drug Administration review the world health plans an create the best formula for All of Americans. Cut out Big Business and the Bureaucracy. Give Government back to the People