On Tuesday, Nov. 3, voters in Polk County will go to the polls to determine a number of issues and elect leaders for the next terms of office. One of these will be the two-year term of House Representative for the 128th District, and you'll find me there on the ballot. 

I took a long time in deciding to file for this office … but when I did, it was with the determination to make a difference for the people of our district and to work for the greater good of our state.

Jefferson City is an easy target to rail against in any race. Our state government is intricate, messy and often dysfunctional, and provides an easy target for criticism as a collective unit. On the other hand, voters all too often send back the same group of legislators under the reasoning that the problem "is not in my backyard."

It is, and it's high time that changed.

Voters in Missouri have made their wishes clear on several issues — Right To Work, Clean Missouri and Medicaid Expansion, to name a few — and yet, leaders and party followers in the General Assembly have either ignored the results or handed the issue right back to the voters. (Amendment 3, the end-around ploy to subvert Clean Missouri, deserves a resounding "NO" in November.) 

So, why return legislators who have wasted so much of the taxpayer's time and money? Polk County voters, you deserve representation that addresses many more of our area's needs. Endorsements by educational associations, labor and healthcare coalitions, and grassroots organizations for social change can be found on my campaign's website. These should affirm my intention to work on a wide variety of issues in the General Assembly.  

One issue that is particularly timely is the management and supervision of our state's unregulated and unlicensed youth reformatories. Any institution that assumes the role of caretaker for vulnerable people should be accountable to the state. Your current representative doesn't feel this way. I do, and I will work toward legislation to create that system of accountability.

Several weeks ago, I wrote 100 words for this paper and reminded the reader that "we can't solve problems using the same thinking that created them." Should I be elected, I pledge to act as an independent-thinking public servant, not a political "yes-man." I humbly ask for your support and vote on Nov. 3. 

— Marvin Manring, Stockton

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