Sifton (click for larger version)
November 09, 2012Rep. Scott Sifton, D-Affton, bested Sen. Jim Lembke, R-Lemay, for the newly-drawn Senate District 1 seat in Missouri. Redistricting moved the predominantly South County district to the north and to the west to include much of Crestwood and Webster Groves.
Sifton squeaked by Lembke by several hundred votes out of more than 89,000 cast. On Wednesday morning, Sifton said he was grateful to all the voters who turned out to vote in the state senate district.
"The one thing that is evident is that this district is very competitive," said Sifton. "I really can't emphasize enough that every vote counts. No one should ever think it is just a spit in the ocean.
"My opponent was a hard worker and just a tough competitor," added Sifton. "He called me late Tuesday night and congratulated me. He was very gracious. I thank him for his 10 years of service to our community and our state. I mean that sincerely and I also thank Jim Lembke for running a very clean race."
Despite Sifton's win, the new session of the legislature will see an even more lopsided ratio favoring Republicans over Democrats. The results mean that Gov. Jay Nixon, who was re-elected Tuesday night, no longer can depend on a straight-line Democratic vote to sustain his vetoes.
"It is going to be very interesting for the next two years," said Sifton. "Obviously, the governor is going to have to have both Republicans and Democrats to sustain his vetoes of legislation that gets passed."
One area where Sifton and Lembke seemed to be in agreement in the election campaign is on the funding of public schools. Both said it's unfair that rural schools get much more state taxpayer money than suburban schools.
Both said that property in the outstate areas is underassessed for tax purposes with some assessments dating back to the 1970s. Meanwhile, property in suburban districts is assessed every two years and schools are overwhelmingly dependent on tax money from property taxes.
Sifton said he will continue to work to bring a system of public school funding that is better for schools and fair to local taxpayers.
Sifton said he will work on economic develoment issues and to find more funding for education.
"With the cigarette tax looking like it has gone down in the election, we obviously are going to have to find some money elsewhere for education," Sifton said. "We have to support education, if we are going to have better jobs and economic development in the state."