The people of Jefferson City have spoken…casino gambling does not belong in Missouri’s Capital City. The work of business owners, doctors, state employees, clergy, and other residents who came together to form Citizens Supporting Integrity (CSI) clearly informed and impacting the Jefferson City community. With verifiable evidence, the volunteers of CSI made sure to arm their fellow citizens with the facts so that the easy decision of defeating casino gambling could be made yesterday.
State capital residents on Tuesday soundly rejected an effort to overturn a 13-year-old ban on casino gambling.
Unofficial results from the Cole County Board of Elections show that roughly 62 percent of voters opposed a pair of measures that could have opened the gates to casino gambling along the Missouri River in this historic seat of state government.
The first measure, known as Proposition B, would have repealed a prohibition on casino and riverboat gambling that voters added to the city charter in 1995. Only 38 percent of the 9,090 votes cast favored that change.
A second measure to allow excursion gambling boats or floating casinos, known as Proposition C, met a similar fate, with 62.3 percent of voters rejecting the proposal.
Both measures were actively opposed by a coalition of church, business and civic leaders who feared that casino gambling would taint Jefferson City’s small-town atmosphere and provide the local government with extra money at the expense of the most vulnerable.
”I’m ecstatic,” said Clyde Lear, chairman and chief executive of Learfield Communications and head of Citizens Supporting Integrity, the leading opposition group. ”The voters of Jefferson City just don’t want to have casinos in our town.”
City Councilman Kevin Brown, who led the effort by local elected leaders to bring the issue back to voters, also was a casualty in Tuesday’s contest. The four-year incumbent lost his 4th Ward seat to challenger Carrie Carroll, who received 67.5 percent of votes in that race.
Brown thinks his support for overturning the gambling ban contributed to his defeat.
”Without question it had some impact,” he said. ”But if an elected official is only concerned with self-preservation and re-election, then I’m not sure that’s the right kind of person to have on the council.”
The vote the city’s third on casino gambling since 1992 was driven by a desire to boost the city’s economy beyond its reliance on state government, supporters said. No casino companies have approached the city about a new project.