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Politics

Interest groups express their stances at city council meeting

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Andy Humphrey
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KBIA
Members of AFP Missouri stood in front of Columbia City Hall Monday in hopes that city officials heard their requests of less government regulations.

   Two Mid-Missouri interest groups used Columbia’s City Council meeting Monday night as an opportunity to express their stances on different issues.

   Americans for Prosperity Missouri rallied before the meeting to protest for small government and economic liberty. Around 20 group members along with national radio host Gary Nolan held up signs in response to recent demonstrations across the country for environmental reform.

   Rachel Payton has been a member of AFP Missouri for two and a half years. She said the group sees environmental reform efforts as attacks on a free economic market.

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Credit Andy Humphrey / KBIA
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KBIA
Rachel Payton, far left, looks on as members of AFP Missouri hold up signs with creative messages to drivers passing on Broadway.

   “There [are] excessive government regulations. We’re overtaxed. It’s things like that that are hurting people. We’re not growing as a state. We’re on a path to decline and we need to be on a path to prosperity,” Payton said.

   The group’s message was meant for citizens, but Payton said she hopes officials inside City Hall noticed the message as well. She said the group initially planned to gather last week, but rescheduled due to weather.

   During the meeting, a group of MU students asked Columbia’s City Council to take note of a new nationwide alternative energy project. Mizzou Energy Action Coalition director Kelsey Wingo spoke in front of council members to inform them about a proposal for a new wind energy transmission line that would span many states.  The company Clean Line Energy is funding construction of a 750-mile line to bring clean energy to Missouri, Kansas, and other Midwestern states.

   Wingo said the city had already expressed interest in buying part of the energy generated by the line, which could help the city meet its required standard for renewable energy.

   Wingo said the project does pose a problem to farmers with land in the area where Clean Line Energy would build.  She said the MEAC is still undecided about the issue, but still wants to use this as a chance to start the alternative energy conversation in the city.

   “We worked with Clean Line for the last nine months, and we just try to raise awareness at Mizzou and in Columbia, but other than that, we’re just trying to push for clean energy in Missouri and, specifically, Columbia,” Wingo said.

   Clean Line Energy’s plans have the line running through the northern part of Missouri.

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