Missouri Rep. John Rizzo is on the right side of critical issues facing people who live in Senate District 11, including parts of Kansas City, Raytown, Lee’s Summit and Independence.
Rizzo, a Democrat who serves as the minority whip, is the clear choice over Brent Lasater, a Republican. This is the most competitive state Senate race in the Kansas City area and worth special attention by voters.
Rizzo properly favors raising the minimum wage to help less well-off Missourians. He strongly supports unions and opposes the Republican effort to weaken them by making Missouri a right-to-work state.
In 2012 Rizzo helped pass what Kansas City Mayor Sly James called “game-changing legislation” to establish a land bank that could acquire vacant properties, then work to get them back on the tax rolls.
Lasater is a far less-appealing candidate.
He is endorsed by Missouri Right to Life, which wants to end women’s choice when it comes to abortions. Lasater was elected to the General Assembly as a House member in 2010, and in 2012 signed the silly Taxpayer Protection Pledge to oppose any and all tax increases. He lost re-election in 2012, lost another legislative race in 2014 and now appears to be a perennial candidate trying to get a job prattling standard GOP talking points.
However, Rizzo also has flaws. He is dogged by the fact that he won his 2010 Missouri House primary by a single vote. More than two years later, two of his relatives pleaded guilty to voter fraud. They had given false addresses to vote in his race. Rizzo, who had been re-elected in 2012, said he had not known of the fraud and refused to resign.
As a House member, Rizzo has worked on the right side of progressive issues important to his constituents. Rizzo would be a better state senator for residents than the narrow-minded Lasater.