- EMPLOYMENT/ LABOR
- CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM
- GOVERNMENT WASTE AND DYSFUNCTION
I believe that all Americans- and Missourians- need access to quality, affordable Healthcare.
Women MUST have access to safe, affordable Reproductive Care in ALL areas of Missouri.
I believe that we must accept Medicaid Expansion in order to help get Missouri more healthy overall, provide aid to the poor that are suffering from medical issues, fund services in rural areas so that Hospitals in those communities can afford to stay open. Missouri is one of a handful of States that hasn't accepted Medicaid Expansion- which is 90% funded by Federal funds and has been shown to be largely revenue neutral. Accepting Medicaid Expansion funding will also help us to address the opioid addiction epidemic that is destroying our communities.
We must work to ensure that Missouri citizens are not denied Healthcare coverage due to pre-existing conditions.
Over 80,000 single eligible seniors were kicked off of the MORx program that helps fixed-income patients cover the cost of the donut hole in prescription coverage. I believe that Missouri seniors deserve better.
We MUST address the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs. Those suffering from diabetes should not have to consider affording food vs. affording insulin as they need both to survive.
We need to figure out why the infant mortality rate in Missouri rivals 3rd World Nations and fix the problem.
We need to institute a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program like the other 49 U.S States to help to address the opioid epidemic that is ravaging many communities.
We must work to make sure that our schools statewide are fully-funded and able to provided public school students with a firm education foundation from which to pursue a career path as an adult. As of the time of this writing 61 (out of 567) School Districts in Missouri are on 4-day weeks due to funding shortfalls.
We must work to make sure that schools possess up-to-date materials and technologies in order to guarantee that our students are being offered a curriculum that reflects the best knowledge and know-how that is necessary to be self-supporting and successful in our modern era. There are schools in our State that are using outdated books and materials as well as many without broadband internet access- particularly in the rural areas.
We must work to make sure that teachers are paid a competitive salary so that we can encourage new hires and maintain a robust and effective teaching community. Starting salaries for Missouri teachers are the second lowest in the Country and we rate 42nd in the U. S. for average teachers' salaries.
We need to work on providing a variety of career paths for students that include college-bound, entering into a professional certification program or the skilled trades. In order to strengthen our workforce we must invest in educating our students to be able to meet the work demands of the 21st century.
Our college graduates should have the opportunity to pursue a career in their field without being burdened by crushing long-term debt so we need to work on making college both more affordable and more accessible.
Our State government needs to allow local Districts and educators to best decide how to teach their students while maintaining a Statewide proficiency standard. However- we must address the trend of “teaching for the test" so that we're best serving the students in our schools to make sure that upon graduation they have the basic tools required to be prosperous in their adult lives.
Employment doesn't just put food on our table and a roof over our heads- it informs the daily quality of our lives and our potential for growth, opportunity and prosperity. As the wealthiest nation on the planet the potential to succeed and excel should be available to every single American citizen.
We have been recovering from a very serious market collapse which occurred in 2008. A number of industries and institutions failed- leaving our workers and our economy in crisis. Because of strong leadership and a concerted effort to mend and recover from that circumstance America has come back stronger than ever- but not for everyone.
While corporate profits have skyrocketed to historic highs wages have stagnated and remained nearly flat. Income disparity between earners is at historic highs as the richest get richer and the younger generation gets bogged down in student loan debt, low wages and lack of opportunity.
America needs to reshape our economy from the ground up and the top down. Executive pay needs to be moderated while more focus is placed on sharing the success of doing business with the people paid to do the actual work.
We need to pay our workers more as well providing more education, training and opportunity for those that are struggling to find work or aspiring to be more successful. The issue isn't only in paying a higher minimum wage- people in the middle- skilled workers, middle management, etc. that have not seen their wages rise while the people that they work for have enjoyed exponential growth in their earnings.
A stronger, better paid workforce simply makes America stronger. We must constantly strive to innovate not only for the sake of doing so but to create new opportunities for this generation and the next.
As technologies become obsolete they are replaced with others that require workers with new skill sets. It's in our best interest to encourage American workers to pursue acquiring new skills while we provide them with the training and opportunity to use them.
I support unions and the need for workers to join together to ensure that they receive fair wages and competitive benefits. My parents and many of my family members were or are educators in public schools. My mother's parents were active in organizing labor in the manufacturing sector many years ago.
I oppose Right to Work and I will fight this legislation and any iteration of it that is presented.
I oppose ending the Prevailing Wage as I believe that we should do our best to employ Missouri labor and pay them a fair wage.
I oppose Paycheck Deception and any other actions designed to deliberately make membership in a union more challenging.
I oppose any actions designed to break unions in our public and private sectors. In my experience employers cannot be counted on to pay workers fairly or advance wages fairly to reward hard work or to stay current with the cost of living. There is already evidence of the GOP making laws to make it more difficult for employees to join together to fight systemic issues in a company. There is no doubt that their actions serve to benefit a few wealthy entities at the expense of many, many workers.
We need to get back to our roots and make our labor movement and social movements work together to fight the historical income inequality that exists in our country today. United we stand- divided we will fall.
We need to proactively present entering the skilled trades to our students as another viable career path in which to earn a middle class wage and benefits.
America is built on the foundation of the rule of law. These laws are to be applied with fairness and no bias for or against any particular demographic. Justice should be applied equally to the poor man as well as the rich man.
It's no secret that justice favors those with money, power and position as well as certain demographics. It's also no secret that those of color, women, LGBT, non-Christians and so forth have struggled to find justice in America ever since our humble beginnings.
Our progress has often seemed more like singular events in history than permanent changes in the way our society operates.
I will work to protect the rights of ALL Missourians including our minority communities, children, the elderly and the infirm. I will fight legislation that seeks to relax or eliminate worker protections and I will advocate for equal justice in our streets and courts no matter your location, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or income.
I believe that justice should truly be just and applied equally to all people regardless of their income, gender, ethnicity or race. It is our duty as a country to always strive for truth and equality and to create and enforce our laws in a way that best serves all American citizens- not just a select few.
I oppose Tort Reform policies that take away the rights of the injured to their day in court.
I oppose mandatory sentencing guidelines, creating a cycle of incarceration for non-violent offenses that creates “debtor's prisons" and so forth.
I support Treatment Courts and alternative means to transition addicts from being offenders to becoming healthier, productive members of society.
I support passing the Missouri Non-Discrimination Act or MONA that would protect LGBTQ citizens in the State of Missouri. MONA would add sexual orientation and gender identity to Missouri’s Human Rights Act, which currently prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations for other protected categories, including race, sex, and national origin.
CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM
Campaigning for office is time-consuming, requires professional staff and requires copious amounts of promotional efforts from signs to videos to flyers to mailers and beyond. Most of this stuff costs money and it has to come from somewhere. Unfortunately since wealthy special interests can get a nice Return on Investment by helping candidates that vote in their favor to win elections their influence on policy-making has become unbalanced with the needs of constituents. One of the biggest challenges for Democratic candidates is that we don't want to be beholden to the interests of corporate donors over the well-being of voters. Unfortunately we fight battles within out Party, the expectations of media and of course the well-funded Republican candidates that also benefit from the influence of dark money".
The regulators that keep track of and scrutinize political campaigns are charged with policing where election contributions and how they are spent. However- rulings like “Citizens United" allow entities to contribute enormous amounts of money and resources to campaigns that politicians have become dependent on.
I support the CLEAN Amendment as well as making politicians 100% accountable for where their money is coming from and what it's being used for. I oppose Republican's efforts to reverse the will of the voters who passed this Amendment by a large margin in 2018.
Imposing campaign contribution limits in just the last few years has made it more challenging for megadonors like Dave Humphreys, Rex Sinquefield, the Devoses, Kochs, etc. to throw hundreds of thousands of dollars at legislators to sponsor and pass legislation that's favorable to their personal business interests but we still have quite a ways to go in order to minimize the influence of money in our State's politics. However- the use of PAC's or “Political Action Committees" has allowed large donors another route in which to throw large sums of money at political campaigns.
America is a nation founded and built by immigrants. Our culture has been greatly informed by the many elements brought to our shores from all around the world. As our country continues to welcome new faces and cultures we must be sensitive to the fact that we are known as a nation of not only opportunity but safety and security. No good person on this planet should be made to feel unwelcome in the United States of America. We must be fair and empathetic to the issues faced by immigrants coming to America and do our best to welcome them in whatever ways we can.
I- like most other Americans- am descended from immigrants who came to America seeking a better life and new adventures. Today's world is far more populated, connected and chaotic than when America- and much of the world- was still a vast frontier.
As we benefit from our engagements with other countries and contribute to conflict and instability in other parts of the world we have a moral and ethical responsibility to provide a safe and nurturing haven to academics, professionals, laborers and refugees who seek to come to America seeking a better life or safe haven from conflict.
Locking our borders and using inflammatory rhetoric only serves to isolate America and further inflame those who wish ill against us.
I support our DACA recipients “Dreamers" and believe that they must be protected in our country as well as offered a path to citizenship. DACA recipients who are Missouri residents who wish to attend a State College should be able to pay in-state tuition rates as opposed to being subjected to punitive out-of-state tuition rates.
I believe that we need to treat immigrants with respect and empathy while enforcing our laws that govern entry into and residence in the United States.
I believe that we benefit from offering H1B visas to foreign workers to give them opportunities to work here legally and to offer employers- including employers in rural and agricultural ares- labor options that American citizens don't seem to be interested in.
The land that we live on is our greatest resource. What makes America beautiful (and habitable) is our soil and water, flora and fauna and the air that we breathe. It is our responsibility to maintain and nurture the land that we live on so that it is safe, enjoyable and fertile today and for generations to come.
It is morally and ethically wrong and short-sighted to sacrifice our safety and well-being for the sake of profits for a select few. Providing employment to a few people in the name of destroying our natural resources is irresponsible and unconscionable.
We must not only make sure that we continue to regulate industries and enforce the rules but we must continue to improve the way we treat and interact with our natural environment as we are dependent on virtually every aspect from the trees to the bees and butterflies to the crops that we grow to the land that we build on.
I will fight efforts to loosen environmental oversight and regulation in our State Capitol and advocate for protecting our precious air, land and water and cleaning up the messes that have already been made.
I oppose giving free reign to Consolidated Animal Feeding Operations or “CAFO's" as they are a major source of air, land and water pollution not to mention a cruel method of keeping livestock.
I support “clean closing" the 100+ acre unlined coal ash ponds at the Labadie Power plant that sits in the Missouri River bottoms just a few miles from our neighborhood. Coal ash contains a variety of substances that could (or may already be) leak into our drinking water including lead, mercury, arsenic and molybdenum. Due the “Karst Topography" in our area the limestone that seats beneath us is porous and prone to collapsing forming “sinkholes". Ameren (as of now) has decided to simply cap the pit and leave it as-is despite significant disagreement with the community surrounding the plant.
We need to seriously address the issue that cause flooding and massive destruction in House District 110 and around the State of Missouri. Not only have Eureka and Pacific faced a number of devastating floods over the last few years but flash flooding has caused damage in areas of Wildwood as well.
I support our 2nd Amendment and American citizens' Constitutional Right to own and operate firearms. I also support common sense policies regarding firearms so that we make sure that deadly weapons are used and handled responsibly for the safety of gun owners and others.
I grew up in a house where firearms were owned and used. On many occasions we would go to the family farm on weekends and shoot targets or hunt. I was taught to use rifles, shotguns and pistols. It was an exciting challenge to be able to aim a firearm at something and fire accurately. Guns also had an allure like fast cars in that more powerful and military-style weapons seemed “cool". However, firearm ownership also comes with a great deal of responsibility. Modern guns put the power of life and death in the hands of anyone strong enough to pull a trigger and unfortunately many young children have been killed due to their access to loaded firearms.
With 33,000 Americans dying as a result of firearms every year, I believe that we must finally take sensible action to address gun violence. While responsible gun ownership is part of the fabric of many communities, too many families in America have suffered from gun violence. We can respect the rights of responsible gun owners while keeping our communities safe.
I support expanded background checks and eliminating loopholes to avoid them.
I support providing better security and physical security solutions to help keep our kids safe from mass shooters. However- I don't support arming our teachers. They have enough to deal with trying to teach on a shoestring budget for substandard pay.
I believe that we need to put more resources into reforming and remaking our Mental Health system in order to begin to address the reasons why people perpetrate violence against people whether it's in the home or public shootings.
I will advocate for not only improving and maintaining our roads and highways but also to expand, modernize and streamline our public transportation system. We must create solutions as to how to fund these improvements be it from a fuel tax, sales tax, usage tax or possibly through limited use of toll roads.
Missouri is one of the top producers of agricultural products in the United States and we have the second most farms of the 50 States- nearly 100,000 farms- the vast majority of which are family farms that sit on an average of 291 acres apiece that cover 2/3 of the land of Missouri. Missouri's top agricultural products include soybeans, corn, cattle and calves, hogs, and turkeys.
Despite our success as an agricultural producer our rural areas have been suffering for years due to a number of issues which include lack of economic opportunity, unstable agricultural markets, crime and drug addiction, under-performing public schools, a changing economy, lack of access to broadband internet, etc.
We must commit energy and resources to creating strategies to shore up our rural communities and create and commit to solutions that will help rural communities to rebuild and thrive in the 21st century.
Opioid addiction has wreaked havoc on communities all over Missouri from urban to rural and everywhere in between. Everybody “knows somebody". While we try to address the results of drug addiction including crime, hospitalization, and death, as well as diminishing the workforce, destroying families, and filling up jails on every level we must also commit to addressing the root causes of addiction including poverty, lack of opportunity, lack of access to healthcare services, domestic violence and so forth.
Missouri is the only State in U.S. that doesn't have a Statewide PDMP or Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. Instituting PDMP could help to address a cause of addiction where individuals abuse prescription drugs.
Diversion Court or “drug court" helps to give addicts the opportunity to get clean and get back on track through a court-supervised program instead of simply incarcerating individuals who then often simply re-offend and end up back in jail time and time again. Jailing individuals in a County jail in Missouri costs Missouri taxpayers $50 a day.
Money spent to house- but not rehabilitate- criminals could be better spent on efforts to help them to become productive members of society and law-abiding citizens and the vast majority of inmates in Missouri jails are convicted of drug-related offenses.
GOVERNMENT WASTE AND DYSFUNCTION
One issue that inspired me to run for office is the lack of effectiveness of government agencies and their associated providers. I believe that Departments like Children’s Division, the Department of Health and Senior Services, MoHealthnet, the Department of Mental Health and others could greatly benefit from reform. While these entities exist to serve the people of Missouri it would often seem that their well-being is the last consideration as opposed to the first.
It’s not news that government on all levels tends to waste money while underpaying it’s most critical workers who do the bulk of the work required such as social workers, prison staff, case workers, and so forth. In addition- entities that provide very important services like our public school systems, the Missouri Department of Transportation and others suffer as well.
We must not only root out waste but reform the way many of these departments function so that they better serve the citizens of Missouri more efficiently and perhaps more inexpensively as well. Solutions such as modernizing systems, restructuring administrative structures, updating policies and approaches and so forth will help to make our State more healthy, peaceful, and prosperous.