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General Election Preview 2016

In anticipation of the upcoming general election, candidates with contested races that affect West St. Louis County were offered the opportunity to participate in West Newsmagazine’s Election Preview.

Unopposed candidates were omitted from West Newsmagazine’s query, but are listed below. Candidates who were queried but did not reply by deadline appear by name only. Party affiliations are noted as Democrat [D], Republican [R] and Libertarian [L].

Candidates marked with an asterisk are incumbents.

• • •

President/Vice President

Hillary Clinton/Tim Caine [D]

Donald J. Trump/Mike Pence [R]

• Gary Johnson/Bill Weld [L]

Candidates for U.S. Senate, U.S. Representative and Lt. Governor were asked: What will you do to provide a strong economic future for Missouri, and specifically the residents of your district? Candidates also were asked: Other than the economy, what do you view as the three most important issues facing local residents and what will you do to address these concerns? Replies to these questions appear below.

U.S. Senate

Jason Kander [D]

Q. 1: We need to reduce red tape and provide common sense solutions to help businesses grow. That means closing tax loopholes for companies that send jobs overseas so we can support small businesses that create jobs here in Missouri. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and as senator, I will work to make sure our tax system provides targeted tax relief for small businesses and make sure the middle class gets a tax cut. We need to make sure the minimum wage is a livable wage and end the gender wage gap so women earn equal pay for equal work.

Q. 2: We need to start considering higher education a necessity for the future of our economy and the country, not a bonus. There are multiple initiatives at the federal and state level that as your Senator I will fight for, including allowing students to refinance their student loans similar to a loan for a house or a car or placing a cap on federal student loan interest rates.

As a former military intelligence officer who volunteered to serve in Afghanistan, I understand that ISIS is the greatest threat facing our country, and the U.S. can’t tolerate cowardly acts of terrorism anywhere in the world. Congress needs to come together to pass an updated Authorization for Use of Military Force, so we have a targeted and comprehensive plan to destroy ISIS, which should include working with our allies, so our brave men and women in uniform are given a coherent strategy.

As veteran myself, I understand the importance of making sure every veteran has the opportunity for gainful employment and the tools and resources to succeed upon returning home. I have called for a larger solution to fix the broken VA system. That includes cutting red tape and reducing cumbersome paperwork requirements.

Roy Blunt* [R]

Q. 1: Missourians are facing stagnant wages, a broken health care system and a still-struggling economy. To improve the economy/create jobs, the federal government must rein in excessive, burdensome regulations; create more certainty and fairness in the tax code; and improve our broken infrastructure system, which is key to growing the economy and creating more good-paying jobs. I also believe that we must repeal and replace Obamacare with workable solutions that always put the patient first.

Q. 2: I’m focused on repealing and replacing Obamacare with a health care system that puts patients first. President Obama’s massive health care takeover has led to fewer choices and higher costs, leaving many to feel as if they have no health insurance at all. I’m committed to replacing Obamacare with a system that will make quality care more affordable and accessible for all Americans.

As chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor/HHS, I secured a $2 billion increase in NIH funding, the largest in over a decade. From finding new ways to treat cancer or leukemia, prevent Alzheimer’s disease or help people suffering from other rare or common conditions, many of the answers will continue to be through the NIH. Life-saving medical research will save lives and taxpayer dollars.

I’m committed to fighting the opioid epidemic and working in my role as chairman of the Subcommittee on Labor/ HHS to ensure our state has the resources it needs. In my first year as chairman, my bill more than tripled the funding that would go to fight the opioid epidemic, and I have again proposed an increase this year. In the past two years, the increase would amount to a 542% increase.

• Jonathan Dine [L]

Q. 1: I believe all Americans are entitled to keep the fruits of their labors.  As your senator, I will call for the repeal of the federal income tax and the abolishment of the IRS. In the last few decades, the federal government has exploded in size. No area of your life or business is free from the meddling of politicians – especially your wallet. It doesn’t have to be that way. With less government and lower taxes, you could keep more of what you earn. It would be easier to start new businesses, build new homes, and fuel real economic growth.

Q. 2: Term limits, tax reform and criminal justice reform are my top issues. I believe the biggest political problem in America is the career politician. I believe we need a change now, and across-the-board term limits are the answer. For a congressman, six two-year terms are enough. Senators should be restricted to two six-year terms. The time for the career politician to go is long overdue. Politicians are like diapers, they need to be changed often and for the same reasons. With term limits politicians are more likely to do good for the people instead of always worrying about getting reelected.

I support the legalization of marijuana and treating drug use as a health issue not a criminal justice one. Criminal laws should be limited to violation of the rights of others through force or fraud. I believe in our current economic state that we simply cannot afford to keep arresting  three people every minute in the failed war on drugs, our tax money can be spent more wisely. Half of what is spent on police, courts and prisons is non-violent drug related. I want free up law enforcement resources to be able to better focus on violent crimes and real criminals.

U.S. Representative – District 2

Bill Otto [D]

Q. 1: First, I would fight to protect the monies our hardworking families have already earned in the forms of pensions and Social Security. Second, I would fight to protect the jobs we currently have by voting against  ill-conceived trade agreements like TTP. Third, I would fight to create more good jobs with good benefits in the Greater St. Louis area by working with small business owners to expand the great companies we have right here and add more new jobs.

Q. 2: Protecting Social Security and Medicare, protecting and expanding our middle class, and working to protect women’s rights and fight for equal pay for equal work – those are the things Missouri families can count on from me.  I’ll fight to fully fund our kids schools and I’ll fight against Washington DC politicians who want to implement more unfunded mandates, not on my watch.

• Ann Wagner* [R]

Q. 1: At the age of 12, I started working in my parents’ family business, a retail carpet store called Carpetime, in Manchester. Working alongside my parents, I learned the value of a dollar, a strong work ethic, honesty, integrity, and that government ought to get out of the way and off the backs of hard-working Americans simply trying to provide for their families. I believe that the federal government spends too much, taxes too much and regulates too much. If we cut government spending, we can grow good-paying Missouri jobs and work to expand investment opportunities for American families.

Q. 2: When I sit down with families from the area, I hear two things: they are concerned for their economic future and concerned for the security of our nation. I am too. American leadership has faltered internationally and President Obama is not doing enough to stop ISIS. This failure has left our nation vulnerable to attacks by radical Islamic terrorists here at home. I believe that America needs stronger leadership that supports her allies, protects our borders, and will do what is necessary to stop ISIS.

Washington also has a spending problem. Federal bureaucrats spend too much and the IRS taxes American families too much. We need to cut up the government’s credit card, which is why I’ve made the tough choices by consistently voting against raising the debt ceiling and voting to cut billions out of the federal budget.

During these chaotic economic times, American families deserve better opportunities to save for their future. I believe all Americans should have access to affordable investment advice for their retirement. In Congress, I will continue the fight to give Missouri families the freedom to decide what type of savings best fit their needs and goals without government interference.

Jim Higgins [L]

Q. 1: The best and only way to promote growth and development is to get the government out of the way. The free market does a superior job at allocating resources and labor in an efficient manner. Government actions can only interfere and disrupt the working of the free market. Government should not regulate business nor should it provide subsidies and tax incentives for specific companies and industries.

Q. 2: Education – Students are little prepared for the workforce. Currently the public schools have no incentive to improve because they are guaranteed an income through taxes regardless of performance. It’s time to allow parents choices in the education of their children.  I would propose education tax credits which would allow parents to use their education dollars as they see wish. This would introduce competition which in turn would bring about innovation.

Government growth – I would work to curb government spending. It is fiscally irresponsible to run such a large debt and morally wrong to pass on our bills on to future taxpayers. I would propose an across the board freeze on new spending.  I would cut the military budget; we do not need bases all over the world. I would cut the budget of all regulatory agencies, they only smother economic vitality.

Immigration reform – For the most part undocumented immigrants are good hard working people trying to improve their situation. The undocumented immigration problem exists because it is very difficult for them to enter the country legally. The wait time can sometimes be measured in decades. We should reform our immigration laws to allow more legal immigrants from all countries.


An extensive look at the governor’s race will appear in the Nov. 2 issue of West Newsmagazine. Therefore, candidates for governor were omitted from this Q&A.

Chris Koster [D] 

Eric Greitens [R]

Lt. Governor

Russ Carnahan [D]

• Mike Parson [R] 

Q. 1: I will continue working to lower taxes, reduce the regulatory burden on Missourians and pass common sense reforms, like tort reform, that will help our economy grow.

Q. 2: Tort reform is one of the most important issues facing our state.  Our state’s litigation environment is ranked 42nd in the nation by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, and frivolous lawsuits have become a tremendous problem for Missouri families and businesses.

We also have to start working to better serve our veterans.  Too many retired veterans are being forced to wait to receive the nursing care they need because our veterans’ home system does not have enough available beds to serve them, and I will work hard to encourage the state to allow veterans to seek care at facilities outside of the system, closer to home.

Finally, we must continue standing up against federal overreach and fighting for our Constitution.  The federal government has continually overstepped its bounds, adopting new mandates and regulations that interfere with Missourians’ rights.  I will work hard to stand up for our freedoms and undo the damage that has been done by federal overreach.

Steven R. Hedrick [L]

Secretary of State

Voters in November will have the opportunity to decide whether photo identification should be required to vote after Jan. 1, 2017. Candidates were asked: What is your position regarding Missouri Constitutional Amendment Six and protection of voters’ rights? Other than voters’ rights, what do you view as the three most important issues facing Missourians and what will you do to address these concerns? Replies to these questions appear below.

Robin Smith [D]

John [Jay] Ashcroft [R]

Q. 1: I am casting a “Yes” vote on Amendment Six, requiring voters to identify themselves with a photo ID is common sense. I also support allowing voters to receive an ID free of charge to ensure there is no undue burden to vote.

Q. 2: Over the past decade, the office of secretary of state has been riddled with mismanagement, ballot language is too often confusing and intended to manipulate elections, and election mishaps have gone unchecked. I’ll assume the responsibility as the state’s Chief Election Officer and pledge to ensure that the will of Missourians is top priority, not a political agenda.

The secretary of state is responsible for the registration of new business, the publishing of new regulations and the oversight of Missouri’s securities industry. In each area, I will work to modernize business laws to ensure we can compete in our ever-evolving economy. I’ll work to eliminate barriers to creating a business, reduce fees and help stop job-killing regulations. We need leaders focused on job creation and as secretary of state it will be my top priority.

Chris Morril [L]

State Treasurer

Candidates were asked: What will you do to provide a strong economic future for Missouri, and specifically the residents of your district? Candidates also were asked: Other than the economy, what do you view as the three most important issues facing local residents and what will you do to address these concerns? Replies to these questions appear below.

Judy Baker [D]

Eric Schmitt [R]

Q. 1: While in the state Senate, I authored two of the largest tax cuts in Missouri history and consistently opposed crushing taxes and Obamacare mandates that stifled economic growth and made it tough for families to make ends meet. Missouri needs lower taxes and less regulation. I will leverage the state treasurer’s office to fight for the middle class – to continue to support lower taxes and a more robust economy. As treasurer, I will make smart investments and I’ll always put Missouri first.

Q. 2: In the St. Louis area, we must focus on quality, affordable education, accountable government and helping all Missourians.

My wife and I are fortunate to send our children to public schools in the St. Louis area. In the state Senate, I supported millions of dollars in increases to public school funding. I also passed legislation to improve the MOST 529 program by permitting parents to invest their state tax refund via direct deposit into their child’s college savings account. We must continue to make higher education more affordable and this reform will help.

As treasurer, I will have a program called, “Show-Me Checkbook.” All state spending will be published online in an easily searchable format so all citizens can monitor how state government is operating.

Finally, as treasurer I will continue my work in the disability community. I passed the MO ABLE Act, which provides for savings accounts for individuals with disabilities. This program helps individuals save for future needs, such as education, housing and transportation. The treasurer runs the ABLE program and I will make sure Missourians who need this program have access to it. I will continue to be a strong voice for Missourians with disabilities.

• Sean O’Toole [L]

Q. 1: Economic prosperity is dependent on a high rate of employment. Missouri shares borders with eight states competing for jobs and economic growth. Rather than poaching out-of-state businesses with negotiated incentives, we should aim to make our state the most attractive place to be for all businesses and individuals. A good start in this regard would be an end to the state income tax and an end to business and occupational licensing. I will lobby the state’s legislative bodies to adopt legislation in this direction.

Q. 2: The office of the state treasurer is very limited in powers and scope. The only function of the office that is not a broad-based economic function is the return of unclaimed assets to their rightful owners. As an administrative officer of the state, the state treasurer does not legislate and, therefore, issues outside the purview of the office are outside the influence of the state treasurer.

Attorney General

Candidates were asked: Why are you running for this office and what are your top priorities if elected? Candidates also were asked: What are your qualifications for holding public office? Replies to these questions appear below.

Teresa Hensley [D] 

Q. 1: In my 10 years as county prosecutor, I made child protection one of my top priorities, with over 90 child sex convictions.  I also created a special division in the office to provide child victims of abuse with professional and compassionate care in difficult times, because we were aware of the need to act quickly for the safety and emotional stability of the victims. As attorney general, I will work with organizations across Missouri to seek best practices in the handling of these cases and fight to protect the most vulnerable:  victims of abuse, domestic violence and especially children.

Q. 2: As an attorney for 24 years – 10 as Cass County prosecutor – I was tough on crime: 21 for 21 murder convictions, hundreds of violent crime convictions, and over 500 convictions of child abuse, domestic violence and sexual assaults.

The attorney general’s office has over 180 attorneys.  I’ve hired, trained and supervised attorneys to go to trial.  This is not an office for someone with a learning curve and there is no room for mistakes. I’m the only candidate with experience and I’m the only candidate ready to do the job as the “People’s Attorney” on day one.

• Josh Hawley [R]

Q. 1: To protect the people of Missouri. Missouri needs an attorney general to stand up for our families, our farms, our small businesses and our children. The political establishment of both parties has failed us. I will fight the Washington dysfunction and bureaucracy that is holding back our economy. I will fight corruption in Jefferson City. And I will protect our children from sex predators and the scourge of human trafficking.

Q. 2: The attorney general’s office is a principally an appellate office. And I have a strong background in appellate litigation. From the Supreme Court of the United States to federal and state courts, my work as an appellate litigator uniquely prepares me for the principal work of the attorney general. Moreover, I understand the challenges facing Missouri families now. Over-regulation is stifling our economy and holding down wages and it’s driving small businesses out of business. Missouri families and taxpayers need an advocate, someone who will push back on government overreach at every level, regardless of which party is in power.

• • •

Candidates for state Senate and state representative were asked: What will you do to provide a strong economic future for Missouri, and specifically the residents of your district? Candidates also were asked: Other than the economy, what do you view as the three most important issues facing local residents and what will you do to address these concerns? Recently, St. Louis City and St. Charles and St. Louis counties signed legislation to enact prescription drug monitoring programs at the local level. What actions, by the state, do you think are warranted in battling heroin and opiate drug use and addiction? Replies to these questions appear below.

State Senate – District 15

Stephen Eagleton [D]

Andrew Koenig [R]

Q. 1: As a small business owner, I recognize the tax and regulatory burden placed on Missouri families and small businesses. My plan to ensure economic prosperity is simple; reduce taxes on families and small businesses and end the corporate handouts to big businesses.

Q. 2: Corporate welfare, education and big government are issues that I frequently hear as important to the public. I have been a consistent opponent of corporate welfare. Giving billions in special handouts to big business makes it harder to for small businesses to compete and shifts the tax burden to families and small business. Government regulations are strangling small businesses and Missouri families. I will fight to cut red tape, promote reasonable regulations and curb government expansion to ensure our liberties are protected. As State Senator, I will also work to ensure that every school has the necessary funds to ensure a quality education.

Q. 3: Prescription drug monitoring programs raise the concern of violating patient privacy and individual rights. It’s important for the public to have a chance to weigh in on these programs. The most effective way to combat heroin and opiate drug use and addiction is by supporting our brave law enforcement officers. We must ensure they are equipped with the necessary tools to combat drug use.

State Representative –  District 70

Byron DeLear [D]

Q. 1: Six years ago, I helped build a coalition of Republicans and Democrats to pass groundbreaking clean-energy legislation in Jefferson City. Programs based on this law are now creating thousands of good-paying jobs that cannot be outsourced. Most importantly, they do not cost taxpayers a single dime. Currently, Missouri leads the entire Midwest in clean-energy job growth, adding 13,000 Missouri jobs in the last year alone with 45 percent of this workforce located in the St. Louis region. As your state representative, I will continue to use my expertise to create more good-paying, American jobs to build a stronger economy for Missouri.

Q. 2: ew science is coming in every day about Traumatic Brain Injury [TBI] and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD]. For more than many, this affects our veterans returning home from defending our nation. I will work to improve health services for our veterans, including ensuring treatment for PTSD and TBI. These heroes deserve our care and attention – without citizens such as these, we would not even have America.

Protecting our community from the radioactive and smoldering West Lake Landfill. St. Louis played a pivotal role in the defense of our nation during the Greatest Generation’s effort to win World War II. The families negatively affected are suffering due to the defense of our nation – St. Louis deserves for the federal government to clean-up the radiological contamination and make this community whole.

Here in Missouri, women continue to be paid less than men for the same work. Our state’s working women are paid just 71 cents for every dollar a man is paid. Pay inequality is real, despite being against the law. I will support strong enforcement of equal pay laws, so women with the same qualifications and who do the same work earn the same pay as men.

Q. 3: Missouri is the only state without a prescription drug monitoring program. These programs help fight drug addiction such as opiate abuse resulting in many tragic deaths due to Heroin overdose. Missouri needs to pass drug prescription program legislation like every other state in the nation to help save lives.

• Mark Matthiesen [R]

Q. 1: Missouri small businesses are footing the tax bill for the tax credits given to special interest businesses who pay for the best lobbyist in Jefferson City. We need to level the playing field for all businesses to thrive by eliminating the tax credits and lowering taxes for all businesses. This will keep jobs that already exist in place and inspire new companies to open shop in our area. Missouri Department of Revenue is currently acting outside of its scope of authority and creating new ways to create taxes, twisting the wording of existing laws. This must stop immediately and will only be prevented with conservative leadership.

Q. 2: Three important issues facing District 70 is the health threat of the Westlake/Bridgeton Landfill, safety of our residents, and liberal federal education policies.  We must protect the health of Northwest St Louis County by implementing the FURSRAP program of the Army Corp of Engineers and removing the EPA’s obstructionist policies that put our community at risk. We must fully support our police departments and equip them with the tools, manpower and lawful authority to carry out their jobs. We must financially support our teachers and provide them resources to build classrooms that provide creative thinking without using vast amounts of their own salary. We must block the progressive federal mandates that have overtaken our schools and force out teachers to focus on teaching standardized testing and let our teachers focus on teaching again.

Q. 3: Current prescription drug monitoring programs are nothing but data collection programs that have no provisions that actually prevent doctor shopping and filling duplicate opioid and pain killer prescriptions that can lead to further drug abuse. If these programs are ever going to be the useful tools that our police have requested, they must be specific, enforceable, mandatory, and actually stop the problem.

State Representative – District 88

Tracy McCreery* [D]

No candidate filed [R]

Steven E. Robnak [L]

State Representative – District 89

Jack Schilligo [D]

Q. 1: To provide a strong economic future for Missouri, we need to expand Medicaid coverage. Medicaid expansion would provide an additional 300,000 working Missourians with coverage and significantly improve Missouri’s health care system. It would cause additional revenue for hospitals; attract private business; create good paying, middle class jobs; and increase economic growth across the entire state. Missouri would receive a return of $3 for every $1 invested to expand Medicaid.

Q. 2: No reply given.

Q. 3: No reply given.

Dean Plocher [R]

Q. 1: Creating an environment where businesses can grow and quality jobs can be created is a top priority. To me, the formula is simple: we should reduce regulations, mandates and taxes on our small businesses. We must also make smart investments in our future by investing in schools, roads and workforce.

Q. 2: In addition to economic worries, I often hear that people are concerned with helping their children obtain a quality education and that they are fearful our federal government is becoming more and more burdensome as it continues its overreach into our daily lives. I will work tirelessly to ensure that our children receive a quality education and will invest in our schools to provide the resources they need so that Missouri has a first class workforce with solid employment opportunities. Furthermore, we must make sure that unnecessary governmental regulations don’t stifle job creation while keeping local control of our schools and protecting our individual liberties so Missouri can be an even better place to live, work and raise a family.

Q. 3: The heroin and opiate epidemic is a real crisis across Missouri. We must treat addiction as a health and mental crisis while providing our law enforcement with the resources they need to combat this challenge. Drug monitoring laws should be effective and should provide real time information. Simply passing laws does not solve the problem. Our medical providers, pharmacist, drug companies and communities need to work together to identify and help prevent this growing problem. We must also educate our youth to the serious and potential long term effects of drug use.

State Representative – District 98

Nancy Craig [D]

Q. 1: Legislators cannot solve or legislate all of the problems of a state or community. However, legislators have a responsibility to try to improve the lives of the people of their state. Good jobs and a strong economic future begin with a good education. School districts must be supported financially to provide education that leads to financial security for all citizens. Missouri cannot afford to not fully fund its schools. Legislators must make school funding a top priority. A well-educated work force will attract businesses and companies to our communities and improve Missouri’s economy.

Q. 2: The three most important issues facing local residents are: Proper and affordable health care for all citizens, especially seniors, the availability of good jobs and to restore the basic concept of checks and balances, compromise and respect in the House of Representatives.

Proper and affordable health care should be a top priority for a state or community. Good medical care, top hospitals and physicians attract businesses and companies to a state or region. With those businesses/companies providing good jobs, families can afford good health care and will demand it. Taking care of seniors, making sure that they have proper care should also be a top priority.

Good-paying job opportunities within the state or community will strengthen the state financially and encourage students to stay rather than leave for better opportunities elsewhere. A well-educated, trained work force is an asset and should be a priority.

A legislator should represent all of his community/state by using the basic concept of checks and balances, compromise and respect for their office. Many times these necessary components are not used and nothing gets accomplished. We send legislators from our communities to work for us and to be able to communicate the needs of all citizens.

Q. 3: Apparently Missouri is the last state in the country without a statewide program to monitor doctor shopping and drug abuse through a prescription drug monitoring program. A drug monitoring program would help control opiate abuse and heroin addiction and should be addressed by Missouri’s legislators. It should be a bi-partisan effort to improve and save the lives of Missouri’s citizens.

Shamed Dogan* [R]

Q. 1: I am very concerned about Missouri’s continued lack of job creation. I will help to improve our state’s economy by supporting tax relief and cutting regulations that strangle our ability to compete with other states for jobs. I also will work to promote Missouri tourism to the rest of the country and provide support for startup businesses. My pro-jobs, pro-business record has earned me endorsements from the NFIB, Missouri’s leading small business advocacy group, as well as the Missouri Chamber of Commerce.

Q. 2: Health care costs – Obamacare caused rising premiums and caused many to lose their doctors, even though we were promised “Affordable Care” and a chance to keep our doctors. I will work to find ways to decrease health care costs and reduce the damage done by Obamacare.

Education – We have excellent schools in Parkway and Rockwood, and I want to keep them great so our kids can learn. I support local control and keeping state and federal bureaucrats from putting too many burdens on our teachers and students. I also support the right of all parents to secure a quality education for their children whether they attend public schools, private schools or homeschool.

Law enforcement—We need to stand up for the hard-working men and women in law enforcement to make sure that they are protected while they protect our communities. I support community policing and other reforms to ensure that police have closer relationships with the citizens they serve. I also support pay increases for police officers who are often underpaid when they start their careers. Last but not least, anyone who attacks a police officer needs to be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

State Representative – District 99

William H. [Bill] Pinkston [D]

Jean Evans [R]

Q. 1: I will work to eliminate the undue burden of regulation and red tape that prevent businesses from growing and/or moving to Missouri. I’m committed to improving our infrastructure, including roads and ports, that will help us make the most of Missouri’s strategic location in the middle of the U.S. I will work across the aisle to ensure employment growth in my district and throughout Missouri.

Q. 2: Tax reform, federal overreach and economic development.

Q. 3: Every societal ill cannot be cured by new government programs. We must educate young people in school about the dangers of drug addiction and abuse. I am in favor of a prescription drug monitoring program if we can guarantee privacy for patients.

State Representative – District 100

Derek Grier [R] – unopposed

State Representative – District 101

• Dennis Lavallee [D]

Bruce DeGroot [R]

State Representative – District 110

Kirk Mathews* [R] – unopposed

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