JEFFERSON CITY - It's official. Margaret Kelly, the Missouri state auditor for the past twelve years announced Thursday she was entering the race for the governor's mansion.
In front of a crowd at the Capitol rotunda, Kelly called Gov. Mel Carnahan's 1993 education tax increase a "boondoggle" that raised taxes by $300 million without a vote of the people. She promised things will change if she is elected governor.
"In my first year as governor, I will bring this state full circle by proposing the largest tax cut in this state's history," said Kelly.
Kelly said she wants her campaign to focus on issues that are most important to the citizens of Missouri. In addition to taxes, she said these issues include: crime, education, health care and family values. To accomplish this she challenged the governor to a series of debates.
"Mel, once our primary elections are over, I challenge you to debate with me the major issues that confront the state of Missouri and its citizens," Kelly said. "This is our chance to ensure that government is working for the people instead of people having to work for the government."
Mark Farinella, spokesman for Carnahan's campaign said, "there is no doubt about it. The governor will debate whoever the Republican nominee is."
In a press release, Farinella also said that Kelly has had plenty of opportunities but "has never once proposed a state tax cut."
Kelly, a certified public accountant, was the first woman in Missouri to hold statewide office. She is the eighth candidate and third Republican to enter this year's gubernatorial race. Three Democrats and two Libertarians complete the field. Tuesday will be the last day to file for next November's election.