Thursday, June 22, 2006

134th G.O.P Primary Heats Up

The Republican primary race for the 134th legislative seat is heating up between the Mayor of Republic and incumbent Rep. Jim Viebrock.

Republic Mayor Jim Collins seems to be campaigning hard to oust Viebrock, and he's certainly not pulling any punches, launching some tough criticisms at Viebrock.

He calls Viebrock a weak legislator, without clout, who hasn't produced. "I can't think of a major issue that he has helped the 134th district on," Collins said. "I just don't think we have a strong representative up there."

"I will be one voice . . . but I got a good set of lungs, I can be a loud voice," Collins added as he went door-to-door in the upscale Rivercut neighborhood Monday.

Collins says the one bill he would want to pass as a lawmaker is making the state penalties for meth crimes just as stiff as federal charges. While campaigning, he says he also hears a lot about immigration. He wants to crack down on employers who knowingly hire illegals and withdraw all social services from illegal immigrants, except emergency care.

Bob Bilyeu, a longtime educator endorsed by Greene County Sheriff Jack Merritt, says he would focus on how to deal with the pending teacher shortage, and making the classroom more appealing for teaching candidates.

Unlike Collins, Bilyeu says wouldn't say a bad word about Viebrock. "I've voted for him before and if I lose to him, I'll probably vote for him again," Bilyeu said. Bilyeu says he doesn't differ much in principle with Viebrock on the issues, he just believes he would be a capable legislator.

Bilyeu and Collins both said they would support a special session to reinstate a Medicaid program for the working disabled.

Viebrock has not returned repeated calls for comment, but it seems some of Collins opponents were energized by the story that aired Monday.

One Republic resident wrote us an e-mail calling Collins, "the shut-up Mayor." The writer said that Collins recently trashed a Republic alderman by having him physically thrown out of a city council meeting, because the alderman asked questions the mayor didn't like.

"I wasn't surprised to see him attack another good man like Jim Viebrock in order to make himself look better," wrote the Republic resident. "Maybe instead of criticizing Jim Viebrock, he should work on being able to tell people what he would do for us if he got to go to Jefferson City, heaven forbid."

This resident was clearly turned off my Collins' tough attacks on Viebrock, and said it is clear that residents support Viebrock by evidence of the overwhelming number of signs around town.

In addition to all of this, I received a voicemail message from a viewer urging me to attend the next Board of Alderman meeting in Republic this coming Monday. "You might want to go," said the person who left the voicemail, not identifying himself or leaving a phone number.

What is going to happen in Republic on Monday?

Stay tuned.


RiverOtter said...

I was at the "Shut Up" meeting and I think a horrible injustice has been done. The truth has not been told -- just a sensationalist version! The truth is that the alderman in question was not removed for asking questions. He was removed for disorderly conduct. Througout the course of the meeting, he repeatedly interrupted other aldermen while they were speaking to push his own agenda. He was asked several times to be quiet. And what was his agenda: An antiquated transportation plan that the BOA has no authority to make changes to anyway. And why, may you ask? Because the alderman in question has been going around town and scaring residents into thinking that the city is going to come through and take their land to build a road. His solution to these residents is to let him sell their property for them or represent them to the city -- all of which would get him money. Can we all smell the stench of unethical behavior here? And this wasn't the first meeting that the alderman in question displayed such conduct. Oh, no! He's done it before with a whole other group of residents (most of whom live outside the city limits and want to stay that way). After the alderman was removed for disorderly conduct, the mayor asked those in attendence if they had come to the meeting because they thought their land was going to be taken. An astonishing number said "yes". Yet, that was not reported in the paper. Why? Because it wasn't sensational enough. Now, I will admit, shut up is pretty harsh. But even a church mouse would have been fed up with this guy! Now his new agenda seems to be trying whatever he can to get the mayor impeached because he got his feelings hurt! Boo Hoo! This is, no doubt, fueled by those few folks in Republic who seem to think they run the place (PK) and who will do anything to keep Collins from moving on to the state level. In my humble opinion, a horse's rearend could do a better job than Viebrock has done. Oh, but wait, that horse would be dead already if Jimmy-boy had anything to say about it. And, if not dead, he best not be disabled, or he wouldn't have the money to run a decent campaign since JimBob voted to cut his Medicaid -- But that didn't hurt any "real people", right?

RepublicFamily said...

Your right, the truth has not been told since your version here is a long ways from the truth. The Republic Monitor reported the eposide word for word. I watched the meeting on cable TV and Armstrong was not yelling and had been given the floor by Collins to speak. This eposide also has nothing to do with the Sunshine Law and you know it. You can talk about anything in the process of discussion, just not vote on it. And a violation of the Sunshine Law does not call for an elected councilman to be thrown out of the meeting! The maximum fine for Sunshine Law violation is only $100 anyway. That argument is a blue heron and it was only made well after the fact as a way to hide the truth. I might also add, that is the same argument made by Jim Hunsinger in a letter to the editor. No, Armstrong was clearly in the right on this one and the ego of Mayor Collins got the best of him ... yet again.

Oh, Collins has asked Armstrong to resign several times. One of those times was reported several months before this event. I think it would be up to the citizens of the Ward to decide if Armstrong can serve and represent them, not King Collins.