An eastern Missouri businessman says he's running as an independent candidate for Missouri governor in 2016.
Les Turilli Jr. says he's an evangelical Christian who felt a calling from the Lord to enter the race. He says he is conservative on business issues and liberal in supporting government assistance for those in need.
Turilli's campaign received support from relatives and $20,000 from Meramec Caverns Enterprises, a family business where he is a vice president.
The field for the governor's race is starting to shape up.
"Cavern Owner to Run for Governor as Independent." Connect Mid-Missouri. Sinclair Communications, LLC, 13 Jan. 2015. Web. 30 June 2015.
Lester Turilli Jr. of Stanton said he is running for Missouri governor in 2016.
Turilli, an independent, said he is financially conservative but very liberal in his love for people.
“My relationship with God directs me in the paths that I take and the decisions that I make, and it has allowed me to just have an overwhelming love for people,” Turilli, 45, said.
He has never run for political office before.
“Seeing the moral decline of our nation and our state has weighed heavily on me and I have a heart for people and a heart to serve and seeing that not much has changed over the course of the last 25 years I just feel led to stand up and speak and serve and lead to make a change,” Turilli said.
The Meramec Caverns executive grew up in Creve Coeur and graduated from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, with a bachelor’s in management and entrepreneurship.
Rebuilding Missouri’s education system to make it competitive nationally, encouraging fathers to be heads of the households and removing abortion from the state are three issues that are very important to him, Turilli said.
“A big problem in our nation and our state is that there is a brokenness in the American family unit, and we need to change that,” Turilli said.
The fact that he is a Christian is another unique quality about him, Turilli said, adding, “I don’t use that as a title.”
Turilli said he started his campaign by listening to the people for about a year. By listening to others, the roots of problems are heard and better solutions are determined, he added.
And he also said his creativity makes him a unique candidate.
“By not being a politician I’m not constricted to a form or any ways that you might see with typical politicians,” Turilli said.
As an independent he has been able to remove barriers between Democrats and Republicans when they see that he is open, genuine and tells the truth, he said.
As an independent he also is not tied to any special interest people, money or organizations, Turilli added.
"Meramec Caverns Executive Running For Governor in 2016." The Missourian. 15 Aug. 2015. Web.