Brandom vs. Tetley
SIKESTON -- As the incumbent state representative for the 160th district, Peter Myers, is ineligible for another term due to term limits, voters must pick a brand new representative.
Their choices on the ballot will be Democrat Larry Tetley and Republican Ellen Brandom.
Tetley is married to the former Carolyn Albritton. Both he and his wife are third-generation residents of Southeast Missouri, residing in Sikeston.
The Tetleys have one daughter and son-in-law, Laura and Bill Todd, and one grandson, Trey Todd, all of Collierville, Tenn.
Tetley is a Sikeston High School graduate and attended Cape Girardeau Business School and night classes at Southeast Missouri State University.
Tetley's career was in sales and marketing for R.J. Reynolds, Best Foods, Proctor & Gamble, Malone & Hyde, Wetterau and AG Grocery, all of which are major companies in the food industry. He also owned and operated two small businesses, both of which were convenience stores.
Brandom married Rick Brandom. She and her husband owned and operated a petroleum distribution company, which serviced Southeast Missouri, for over 30 years.
"At this point, I am the widowed mother of two adult children and a proud grandmother," Brandom said.
She currently has one grandson but has another grandchild on the way which will probably be born as of press time.
"I received both bachelor of science and master's degrees from the University of Missouri-Columbia where I graduated with honors," she said. "After graduation I feel I received valuable experience working in government public service."
STANDARD DEMOCRAT: What issues do you believe are most important to those in the 160th District?
BRANDOM: "The most important issue for us in Southeast Missouri is economic development," Brandom said, adding that it "has to be at the forefront and an educated workforce is the basis for successful economic development. I've always been a strong supporter of education, which is a prerequisite for successful economic development."
Brandom also believes in "the traditional rural conservative family values, which would include pro-life."
"I will continue to fight for our private property rights and we must continue our fight on crime. While the number of meth labs has gone down in Missouri, the importation of crank has come up," she said. "And we must work to have affordable and quality health care for all Missouri citizens."
TETLEY: Jobs, health care and education are the top three issues, according to Tetley.
"I am 100 percent pro-life and believe in strong family values. I am endorsed by Missouri Right to Life, the leading pro-life advocacy organization statewide," he said. "I support our military and veterans and, having served in the U.S. Army for seven years, I support our veterans organizations and am a member of the American Legion and AmVets."
SD: What do you believe qualifies you to hold the office?
TETLEY: Tetley said he has developed his leadership skills through work in various service and civic organizations, having held both leadership roles and having worked on committees.
In addition to being a member of the First United Methodist Church, Tetley is a member and past district governor for the Lions Club and a state chairman of the Missouri Lions New Club Development and is a Missouri trustee on the Board of Mid-South Lions Sight & Hearing.
A member of the Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce, he is on the Kenny Rogers Childrens Center board, is a Salvation Army volunteer bell ringer, has been a member of the city of Sikeston's park board for six years and has been chairman of that board for two years, has been with the Elks Club for 39 years, is a member and past president of the Semo Shrine Club, is a 30-year member of the Eagles Club, a past member of the Sikeston Jaycees and is a member of the National Rifle Association and the Missouri Farm Bureau.
Tetley has also owned two successful small businesses and is a lifelong resident of the area.
BRANDOM: "I know my district and I've spent the last year getting to know the people of the 160th district. I've visited three senior centers, I belong to and have attended the Chamber of Commerce at Benton, Chaffee and Sikeston," Brandom said. "I've met with area businessmen and women, I've visited coffee shops, I've met with parents of those at the Community Sheltered Workshop, I've sat down with both sides of the welfare issue -- the recipients and the taxpayers. I feel like I know what we need and I can work to get it done. I think that owning and operating a business for over 30 years and meeting a payroll, I have a great understanding of how important pro-business legislation is to the business owner and the effect it has on attracting new industry to the state of Missouri."
Brandom is endorsed by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, NFIB and associated industries.
"I served 12 years on the Sikeston School board including a term as president," she said. "I believe I have a good understanding of many of the needs of higher education."
SD: What are you goals if elected? What changes would you make?
BRANDOM: "I pledge that I will make as many state funds available as possible to benefit our area," Brandom said, "and I think we need to look at industries tied to agriculture."
She said agricultural leaders must be involved so we can "take agriculture to the next value-added level."
Brandom cited ethanol plants as an example and noted this area "has a contingent of extremely well-educated farmers and businessmen."
She said this area has three natural resources that must be must be used: rich soil, water for irrigation and river access to move products.
"We need to attract industries that can take our raw products and take them to the next level," Brandom said. "We have to utilize the resources that we have available. I will promote state dollars for agricultural research."
Fiscal responsibility would also be a priority.
Brandom said the biggest problem in education is recruiting and retaining quality teachers.
"We must give teachers the authority support and protection needed to enforce classroom discipline and create a positive learning environment," she said. "We need to enact legislation to provide teachers liability protection and I am the only candidate endorsed by the Missouri State Teachers Association."
TETLEY: "I support bringing back good paying jobs to the area. I believe in creating jobs that can support Missouri's families. I will support legislation to prevent the outsourcing of Missouri jobs, to crack down on employers who hire illegal immigrants and to help small businesses," Tetley said. "I support expanding access to health care for all Missourians, not cutting it. While cutting health care for hundreds of thousands of children, elderly and disabled, Republican lawmakers voted to keep their own health insurance.
Even when Gov. Blunt said we had $245 million more in the budget than we had expected, the Republicans refused to restore the cuts."
"The new funding plan for education passed by the Republicans breaks our promise to Missouri children because it forces schools to wait seven years to receive adequate funding for education. We need to be able to pay our teachers to attract good quality educators for our children," he continued. "I believe we should spend any excess budget money on Missouri's true priorities -- education and health care. It is time for a common sense approach to our budgeting process. As your representative, I will be a full-
time representative and, when not in session in Jefferson City, I will be traveling the district to talk to constituents regarding their needs and issues -- I want to be a representative for all the people."