Sifton, Leech Vie For Seat Vacated By Pat Yaeger
New jobs, no new taxes, says Leech; Sifton stresses economic development
By Steve Birmingham

October 22, 2010

Democrat Scott Sifton
Republican Anthony (Tony) Leech
A former Affton School Board president and a former Cool Valley acting mayor square off Nov. 2 for Missouri's 96th District seat.

Scott Sifton, a Democrat, is making his second run for the state house while Republican challenger Anthony (Tony) Leech is making his first attempt. Sifton formerly ran for the 91st District seat in 2002.

The 96th, which encompasses the areas of Affton, Concord Village and Lemay, as well as the municipalities of Bella Villa, Lakeshire and Wilbur Park, is currently represented by Pat Yaeger. Yaeger is term-limited out and cannot run for re-election.

Democrat Scott Sifton

Sifton, an Affton resident, attorney, and three-term member of the Affton School Board of Directors, lives with his wife, Stacey Sifton, an attorney at Edward Jones, and their recently-born son in the 9800 block of Berwick Place.

During his three terms on the Affton School Board the district has been able to roll back taxes by $6.25 million, raise teacher's salaries and complete $25 million in building projects, Sifton said. He also said test scores surged and the district won six coveted Accreditation with Distinction awards from the state.

A partner in the of Husch Blackwell Sanders law firm, Sifton also served two years as chairman of the Deacons at Webster Groves Presbyterian Church. He earned a bachelor of science degree from Truman State University, cum laude, in 1996 and his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School in 1999.

Sifton said his top priorities, if elected, are economic development and education funding.

"Our top priority, of course, is economic development," Sifton said. "We need to pass a comprehensive economic development strategy to help get folks back to work. We need to protect our investment in education and restore cuts to education funding if we can, and avoid further cuts if revenue won't allow us to restore cuts.

"We also need to keep pressure off of local property taxes top the greatest extent possible. The best way we can do that in Jefferson City is by protecting education funding," Sifton added.

To create economic development in the state Sifton said "We need to provide low-interest loans for small businesses in a public private partnership."

"We need to continue to expand tax incentives to lure manufacturers to our state and to keep existing manufacturing here," Sifton said. "We need to reinvest a portion of revenue we gain from plant and life science companies to help support that growing industry.

"And we need to offer tax incentives for folks to finish post-secondary education, whether that's technical training, four-year college or community college," he continued.

Besides the Affton School Board, Sifton has served as a board member of the American Lung Association and as vice-chairman of the Missouri Bar Association's Legislative Committee.

Republican Anthony Leech

Republican candidate Anthony (Tony) Leech is a retired telecommunications manager and lives with his wife, Julia Mary in the 4700 block of Don Ron Drive. He has lived in the St. Louis area since 1971.

He was a member of the Cool Valley Board of Trustees and led efforts to incorporate Cool Valley as a 4th Class city. He also served on its board of aldermen and as Cool Valley's acting mayor for nine months in 1983. He moved to Affton in 2005.

Leech is a decorated U.S. Navy veteran and served on the St. Louis County Municipal League, St. Louis County Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association, the North County MRS (Police Dispatch Service) and is a member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and other civic and fraternal organizations.

Leech's top priorities if elected are investigating all state governmental offices, raising no new taxes and attracting jobs to Missouri, he said.

"The main reason I'm running is I got irritated with the federal government and the spending policies of the federal government," he said. "I started working on a friend of mine's campaign and someone asked me why wouldn't I run for state office, so I said 'you got it, that sounds like a decent challenge.'" Leech said. "And that's what I've been trying to do. I'd like to be able to make a difference on the state level because I know I'd never be able to do it on the federal level. I'm just too old by now.

"I took a pledge not to raise taxes, period," Leech said. "So, forget trying to get a new tax enacted. I'm not going to raise taxes, period. I'd like to audit all the state departments with respect to reducing the size of government and make it more transparent.

"Finally, we need to find a way to attract jobs and industry, non-governmental, skilled jobs to Missouri," he added. "We need to look at all aspects, so we need to create a consortium of labor, industry, business leaders, management and legislators, to see what it takes to make Missouri more business friendly to manufacturing.

"Now, I'm not talking about creating service industry jobs, service sector jobs like Walmart or pumping gas, something along those lines," Leech said. "I'm talking about trying to develop and attract industry and businesses to replace these Chrysler and Fords. We still need manufacturing jobs out here and we have to find out what it will take to do that."

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