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Referendum on right to work influencing Republican primary in Missouri House District 109

The St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio
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Right to work is a key issue in the Missouri House District 109 race.

Right to work is dividing the three Republicans hoping to succeed District 110 Rep. Paul Curtman, who’s running for state auditor.

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Credit Citizens for Simmons, via Facebook
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John Simmons.

John Simmons, 52, of Krakow, is supporting Proposition A, which would make Missouri the 28th right-to-work state.

“Some of the political activity that’s used by some of the dues, and some of the unions — not all — are really affecting the First Amendment rights [of employees],” he said. “To me, it’s a freedom issue, where they should be able to choose work and have the availability of all types of work without a restriction of having to pay a fee to continue work or to get hired on.”

Curtman has endorsed Simmons.

Kevin Juergens, 53, of Washington, says he’s voting “no” on Prop A.

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Credit Citizens for Kevin Juergen, via Facebook
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Kevin Juergens.

“Our unemployment rate is about 2 percent, and things are good, and right now, we see it as something we don’t need,” he said. “I hate to go against the grain – I am Republican – but when you get 310,000 signatures to put [Prop A] on a ballot in November, and then we move it up to Aug. 7, I think that sort of sends the wrong message to people.”

Bob Oreskovic, 53, of Union, is neutral, but said he’ll honor the decision of voters in his district, regardless of the outcome.

“Whatever the vote is, I will respect that,” he said. “If ‘no’ wins, I will respect that vote, and I will not support any future legislation to re-do right to work if it were to come down the legislative calendar.”

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Credit Bob Oreskovic via Facebook
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Bob Oreskovic.

Oreskovic also said he won’t join in any effort to undo right to work next year if the majority of voters in his district support it.

All three candidates support the November referendum that would raise Missouri’s fuel tax by 10 cents a gallon in order to increase funding for roads and bridges, although Simmons said any increase should be balanced out by cuts elsewhere.

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The winner will face Democrat James Cordrey in November.

Follow Marshall on Twitter: @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.

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