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A special election to fill the 8th Congressional district seat vacated in January by U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson takes place Tuesday with voters having four certified candidates and four write-in candidates from which to choose.

Gov. Jay Nixon set June 4 as the date for the special election after Emerson resigned her long-time seat to become president and chief executive officer of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

Certified candidates in Tuesday’s election are Doug Enyart, Constitution Party; Steve Hodges, Democratic Party; Bill Slantz, Libertarian Party; and Jason Smith, Republican Party.

The following are brief profiles of the four major candidates:

Doug Enyart • Constitution

Doug Enyart, a former Marine, is a small business owner / consultant specializing in private property, forest, wildlife and land management. He and his wife, Cheryl, live in Piedmont and are members of Trinity United Methodist Church.

Enyart served three terms as president of Trinity United Methodist Men; is a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow and a graduate of Humboldt State University. Fifteen years ago he launched his business, Clearwater Forest Consultants, LLC.

Enyart says, "Small businesses, which generate the majority of new jobs, cannot thrive and grow in the current climate of over regulation and instability. They don't know what's going to hit them next. I'm going to work on that when I'm elected.

“People need a representative who will work tirelessly on their behalf to uphold constitutional principles and vote to reign in taxes and the out-of-control debt facing this country.”

 The candidate is running on the Constitution Party Platform that reads, “We declare the platform of the Constitution Party to be predicated on the principles of the Declaration of Independence, Constitution of the United States and Bill of Rights, according to the original intent of the Founding Fathers. These founding documents are the foundation of our Liberty and the Supreme Law of the Land.

“The sole purpose of government, as stated in the Declaration of Independence, is to secure our unalienable rights given us by our Creator. When Government grows beyond this scope, it is usurpation, and liberty is compromised.”

Enyart is reportedly 100 percent pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, anti-Social Security and anti-Obamacare.

Steve Hodges • Democratic

Steve Hodges worked and managed a supermarket for nearly 30 years in East Prairie before his election to the Missouri House of Representatives in 2006.

He's a member of the United Methodist Church, Chamber of Commerce, Southeast Missouri State University Booster Board and the Jaycees. Hodges is also a former member of the school board.

After his election to the state House, Hodges’ colleagues elected him president of the freshman class.

He graduated from East Prairie High School and received his degree from Southeast Missouri State University and his MBA from University of Missouri – Columbia. Hodges still lives in East Prairie with his wife, Amy. They have three grown sons, James, Andrew and Adam, and two grandsons.

“I’m a conservative Democrat who is pro-life, pro-gun and won't raise taxes and spend money like a lot of Washington politicians,” said Hodges. “I have spent my life fighting for Southeast Missouri and that's exactly the type of conservative leadership I would bring to Congress.”

On the issues, the candidate is pro-Second Amendment and he has signed a pledge to not raise taxes and to balance the budget by cutting wasteful spending.

“I will stand up for southeastern Missouri family farms and small businesses,” said Hodges. “I intend to work to create economic opportunity for our region and improve access to quality education services, including community colleges, agriculture and vocational training. I also want to see an end the cycle of welfare and government handouts.”

He has received the endorsement of Gov. Jay Nixon and Missouri Right to Life.

Bill Slantz • Libertarian

Bill Slantz has lived in St. Charles County since 1997, when he relocated his company there from New York City. He had previously lived in the greater St. Louis metropolitan area, but elected to move his firm to St. Charles. Today, the W.G. Slantz Company provides a variety of essential consulting services to radio and television broadcasters across the country.

Slantz is widely considered one of the nation's foremost experts on music performance rights.

After moving to St Charles, he met and married his wife Jean, a lifelong Missouri resident.

He believes that his business experience with both small and major broadcasters in all parts of the country gives him a “unique and rich perspective” on how other communities are solving today's challenges.

“I believe that government must be restricted to its three legitimate functions: Providing for the security of its citizens; building and maintaining a sound infrastructure; and overseeing monetary policy,” said Slantz.

The candidate believes in a secure border, limited government intervention in business and restriction of FDA oversight. Slantz believes in legalized drug use, local control of education, limited government, free market energy production and foreign intervention only when the legitimate defensive and security interests of the United States are directly involved.

Jason Smith • Republican

Jason Smith is a seventh-generation Missourian who was raised in Salem where he runs the same family farm that was started by his great-grandfather. He attended Salem High School, where he was an active member of FFA, and the University of Missouri – Columbia to pursue a double major in agricultural economics and business administration.

After receiving degrees from both programs in three years, he attended law school in Oklahoma before returning home to serve his community. Back home in Dent County, he began running the family farm and practicing law.

It was during this time that Smith said he recognized “the harm that the over-bearing government was inflicting on Missourians and our economy” and it inspired him to run for office.

He was elected to the Missouri House in a special election in 2005.

“In the General Assembly, I fought to shrink the size of state government, eliminate burdensome rules and regulations, increase government transparency, protect property rights, implement the castle doctrine, require drug testing for welfare recipients, and defend Missouri agriculture,” Smith said.

He was selected by his colleagues to serve as majority whip and more recently as speaker pro tem, one of the youngest in state history.

Smith attends Grace Community Church in Salem where he volunteered as a Sunday school teacher.

He has earned 100 percent ratings from the American Conservative Union and the Chamber of Commerce, is a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association and 100 percent pro-life.

Smith also favors the repeal of Obamacare, reforming the tax code, passing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution and is a strong proponent of the Second Amendment.

He has received endorsements from the Tea Party, the NRA, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

Write-in candidates

The four write-in candidates whose names will appear on Tuesday’s ballot are Robert W. George, Thomas Brown, Wayne L. Byington and Theo (Ted) Brown Sr.

Poll Hours

Polls open at 6 a.m. on election day and will remain open until 7 p.m. Any voter who is in line at 7 p.m. will be allowed to vote.

Kevin Jenkins is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at (573) 518-3614 or

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