STATE REPRESENTATIVE CANDIDATE JOHN KIEHNE'S PLATFORM

Here are my positions on the issues. I also encourage House District 110 voters to provide me with insights regarding their needs and concerns as to how I could better serve them as their Representative in Missouri’s General Assembly.

I’m willing to listen and discuss what concerns and effects your household so that I can better represent 110th District voters in Jefferson City.

My door will always be open…

HEALTHCARE

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 negatively-impacted if patients are denied 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.

EDUCATION

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.

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.

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.

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.

ORGANIZED LABOR

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.

GUNS

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.

JOBS/EMPLOYMENT

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.

IMMIGRATION

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.

JUSTICE REFORM

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 the straight white male. It’s also no secret that those of color, women, LGBT, non-Christians and so forth have struggled to find justice in America 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 protect the rights of our minority communities, children, the elderly and the infirm. I will fight legislation that seeks to relax 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 offences 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.

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 ballot initiative 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 difficult for megadonors like Dave Humphreys 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.

ENERGY

America- and most every other country on the planet- is extremely dependent on energy to light, heat and cool our homes, cook our food, run our vehicles, power our appliances and so forth. We need to find safer, cleaner and more effective ways to power our country as our population grows, our technology advances and expands and our previous sources and means of providing energy become obsolete.

We must invest in new technologies to address the increasing demand for energy while also making sure that we do our best to develop safe, renewable energy sources in order to power our country more efficiently and minimize or eliminate polluting effects on our environment.

We still use polluting sources like coal, fossil fuels and so forth as our main sources of energy in America but we need to continue to focus on developing technologies such as wind and solar as well as sources that we haven’t even considered yet.

I will advocate not only for clean and reusable energy technologies but I will also encourage new and existing businesses to invest in these technologies. I believe that we can phase-out dated technologies that pollute our environment while providing new opportunities for Missouri workers and businesses in this emerging field.

ENVIRONMENT

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.

Misusing and mistreating our planet is societal suicide. Our current habits of polluting and destroying our natural resources is not sustainable and will become a check that our ancestors may be hard-pressed to cash.

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.

WOMEN'S RIGHTS

I am committed to protecting and advancing reproductive health, rights, and justice. I believe unequivocally, like the majority of Americans, that every woman should have access to quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion—regardless of where she lives, how much money she makes, or how she is insured. We believe that reproductive health is core to women’s, men’s, and young people’s health and well being.

I will continue to stand up to efforts to defund Planned Parenthood health centers, which provide critical health services to millions of people. I condemn and will combat any acts of violence,  harassment, and intimidation of reproductive health providers, patients, and staff. I will defend the ACA, which extends affordable preventive health care to women, including no-cost  contraception, and prohibits discrimination in health care based on gender.

I will address the discrimination and barriers that inhibit meaningful access to reproductive health care services, including those based on gender, sexuality, race, income, disability, and other factors. I recognize that quality,  affordable comprehensive health care, evidence-based sex education and a full range of family planning services help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for abortions.

I strongly and unequivocally support a woman’s decision to have a child, including by ensuring a safe and healthy  pregnancy and childbirth, and by providing services during pregnancy and after the birth of a child, including adoption and social support services, as well as protections for women against pregnancy discrimination. I am committed to creating a society where children are safe and can thrive physically, emotionally, educationally, and spiritually. I recognize and support the importance of civil structures that are essential to creating this for every child.

I oppose efforts by our State Legislature to roll back the rights and freedoms of women and I will do my best to stand up for the unalienable rights of ALL Americans of ALL ages, genders, skin colors, ethnicities, religions, incomes, capacities and zip codes.

FAMILY FARMS

Missouri has 99,000 farms of which 91% are family-owned and one of those farms has been in our family for over 130 years. My family and I live in a rural community in Franklin County and the vast majority of the state of Missouri is rural. Family farms have been the backbone of our state’s economy for nearly 200 years but farmers have been struggling for quite sometime now.

I will work to build a stronger rural and agricultural economy. We need to increase funding to support the next generation of farmers and ranchers, with particular attention given to promoting environmentally sustainable agricultural practices. We need to encourage programs to protect and enhance family farms, a cherished way of life for millions of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Missouri farmers. We need to expand local food markets and regional food systems and provide a focused safety net to assist family operations that need support during challenging times. And we will promote clean energy leadership and collaborative stewardship of our natural resources, while expanding opportunities in rural communities across America.

We must work to roll back faulty, misleading legislation like “Right to Farm" that are giving CAFO’s (Commercial Agricultural Farming Operation) and foreign entities the opportunity to put family farmers out of business and discriminately pollute the environment. We shouldn’t allow 3% of the farming operators in Missouri to dictate the rules that the other 97%- and the whole rest of our State- have to live by.

While the EPA’s new Agricultural Worker Protection Standard goes a long way to protect farm workers from harmful pesticides and herbicides, there’s a lot more we can do. I support stronger agricultural worker protections including regulation of work hours, elimination of child labor, ensuring adequate housing for migrant workers, and sanitary facilities in the field.

We need to spur investment to power the rural economy. I support strengthening rural water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure to make rural businesses more competitive. We will expand access to equity capital for businesses and expand the New Markets Tax Credit to better serve rural small businesses. We need to promote collaborative stewardship of our natural resources, while developing clean fuels that will grow our economy, lower our energy bills, combat climate change, and make America the clean energy superpower of the 21st century. We also need to provide assistance to producers who conserve and improve natural resources on their farms and double loan guarantees that support the bio-based economy’s dynamic growth.

HOUSING

We all need a roof over our heads. It’s imperative that we manage how and where we build housing as policy as well as making sure that safe, affordable housing is available to ALL Americans.

We must make sure that home buyers have fair access to mortgage lending as well as receiving tax benefits for home ownership.

We need to work harder to encourage new housing development as well as work with urban, suburban and rural communities to provide safe, affordable housing and well renovate distressed communities to make them better places for people to live, work and play.

I will advocate for ALL our neighborhoods in order to ensure that safe, affordable housing is provided in areas where it’s needed and that overzealous developers don’t negatively effect our communities with careless developing for profit at the expense of local residents.

We need to be mindful of how and where we encourage new development so that we focus on improving and expanding communities in ways that enhance the culture and vision of the existing residents. We must also be judicious in the ways that we use tax breaks to encourage development so that we don’t negatively effect and hamstring established communities by displacing residents and businesses and redirecting tax revenue away from the community.

TRANSPORTATION

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.
 
In the short term I believe that we will likely have to pass a hike for the fuel tax in order to raise funding to fix our infrastructure. I oppose the bond solution that our Legislature passed in 2019 because I don’t believe that borrowing against our already under-funded General Revenue is not wise. We need not get into the habit of passing down today’s problems to future generations.
 
Our roads and bridges are in desperate need of repair and renovation. Without support from our state these necessary improvements have been slow in coming. Improving our infrastructure will also provide new, good-paying jobs in a number of fields.
 
I will also advocate for exploring new means and technologies for public transportation in Missouri including radical new technologies like the “hyperloop" train that could make a trip across our state only take 30 minutes thus opening up whole new opportunities for workers, businesses and leisure-seekers.