Familiar challenges, unfamiliar faces. That’s the backdrop for Missouri voters contemplating their choices in legislative races on Aug. 3.
Term limits have created an abundance of empty seats, but freshman legislators will have little time for a learning curve.
With that in mind, here are The Star’s recommendations for contested area House seats in the primary.
District 35: His experience as chairman of the Missouri Gaming Commission gives Noel Shull of Kansas City, North, a retired banking executive, the edge over Kearney businessman T.J. Berry in the Republican primary for the Northland seat being vacated by Doug Ervin. The winner will take on Democrat Jim Baldwin.
District 40: John Joseph Rizzo has come close to winning this northeast Kansas City seat in previous elections and deserves the Democratic primary nomination for the seat being vacated by John Burnett. A marketing consultant, Rizzo shows a good grasp of issues. His opponent, in a campaign that has unfortunately turned nasty, is former pilot Will Royster. The winner faces Libertarian Party candidate Sean O’Toole.
District 43: Real estate appraiser Gail McCann Beatty has shown an impressive knowledge of issues and her community in this campaign. She is a good choice to represent the district encompassing parts of Kansas City and Raytown.
District 46: Attorney Kevin McManus has been waging a smart and energetic campaign in this district, which includes parts of south Kansas City and Grandview. He is the top choice in a crowded Democratic field for the seat being vacated by Kate Meiners.
Other Democratic candidates are auto purchasing clerk Darrell Curls, substitute teacher John T. Maloney and Unicorn Theatre development director Geoff Gerling. Rodney Williams is running unopposed as a Republican.
District 47: Incumbent Jeff Grisamore, a consultant for nonprofit ventures, works hard on issues involving disabled people. He is the pick over Annalisa Zapien-Pina in the GOP primary for this Lee’s Summit seat. The winner will run unopposed in November.
District 48: Pam Osgood has an interesting resume that includes a welcome interest in health issues. She is the best GOP candidate for the Lee’s Summit seat being vacated by Will Kraus. Her opponents are real estate investor Gary Cross and retired teacher Bob Gough. The winner will face Democrat Gavin Fletchall and Constitution Party candidate Nathan Eaton in November.
District 50: Incumbent Michael Brown is focused on development in his south Kansas City district. He is the choice in the Democratic primary over teacher Rabbi Alam and retired postal worker Bill Clinton Young. The winner will be uncontested in November.
District 51: Retired teacher and former Independence school board member Ira Anders has a long record of community involvement and would be an asset in the legislature. He is the best Democrat to fill the Independence seat being vacated by Ray Salva. His opponents are Marine veteran Jeremy Ploeger and real estate consultant Travis Richey.
District 53: Brent Lasater’s job as a truck driver gives him a street-level view of the needs of this eastern Jackson County district, which is currently represented by the term-limited Curt Dougherty. Lasater is a better choice than violin teacher Anna Lynn Vogel. The winner will take on Democrat Diane Egger.
District 55: Sheila Solon has been a strong and independent voice on the Blue Springs City Council. She is an impressive candidate for the seat being vacated by Bryan Pratt. Her Republican opponent is Mike Parker, a recent graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City master of business administration program.
Clay Rodgers is running unopposed as a Democrat, and Jeffrey Hoorfar is the Libertarian Party candidate.