Republican State Sen. Norma Champion and Democratic challenger Doug Harpool disagree on all three statewide ballot initiatives facing voters November 7th.
In half-hour interviews conducted with each candidate Monday, both Champion and Harpool outlined their differences on stem cell research, the minimum wage and the tobacco tax.
Their positions on these three issues are just a glimpse at the stark differences between the two candidates vying to represent the 30th District in the Missouri Senate.
The following are their positions on the Stem Cell Initiative - Amendment 2.
STEM CELL INITIATIVE
Sen. Champion said she would vote "no" on Amendment 2, designed to protect embryonic stem cell research, because she thinks it is deceptive. "I think it is way too quick to lock in an emerging technology, in which the legislature and state government has no say from now on."
Champion also said she has moral problem with the initiative because she believes a human embryo is a human life. "Scientists believe that, so yes I do," Champion said. "I don't think you can distinguish between fertilized eggs and eggs that's had somatic stem cell. I think of it as self-fertilization, but those eggs are the same. The biggest question is that I don't believe in cloning."
Harpool advocates a "yes" vote because he thinks Missourians should not be deprived of possible cures derived from embryonic stem cell research. "The idea that the results of the research would not be available to Missouri families is offensive to me, and we need to protect it, even if those cures are found in other states," Harpool said.
Harpool said he does not believe a human embryo is equivalent to a human life. "No, not an unfertilized human embryo," he said.
Harpool said the amendment is acceptable to place in the state's constitution so Missouri won't be "out of step" with the rest of the country, if lawmakers were to try to ban it. "That's appropriate for people to put in the constitution, that Missouri would follow the lead of the federal government on that issue. I am concerned that it would be even necessary to pass a constitutional amendment. It's beyond my comprehension that there's enough people in Jefferson City who would deprive Missouri voters of the hopes of these cures, that this constitutional amendment would be necessary," Harpool said.
"The constitution has always been there to guarantee basic rights of citizens and to that extent, this is an appropriate use of the constitution," he added.