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“This Week” with U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler

Our guest for “This Week” is Republican Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler.

She visited ABC 17 News before Thursday’s surprising decision by U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy to drop out of the race to succeed John Boehner as Speaker of the House.

Representative Hartzler says she’s a bit surprised by the decision and says she’s confident her party can find someone that will unite the GOP. She says, “Unity is what we need right now in order to advance our conservative priorities. I look forward to hearing from candidates and seeing how the race unfolds.”

Since the Congresswoman voted against using the Continuing Resolution to fund the government, I started our conversation by asking her if she supports another government shutdown.

Here’s a transcript of our conversation:

Rep. Hartzler: “Oh, absolutely not. I think we need to do the work that the people send us to do. And we knew that this date was coming a long time ago. And it was just very frustrating that we didn’t move forward and come up with the comprehensive plan that the people deserve. And so I couldn’t support that, uh, need to get to work. And this CR does not fully fund our military and that’s one of the few things we’re supposed to be doing there is to provide for the common defense. So, I couldn’t support it, but I’m hopeful now that we have ’til December 11, that we’ll be able to come up with a comprehensive budget, full spending plan that gets us where we need to be as a country, and reflects our values and priorities.”

Joey Parker: “The Iranian nuclear deal, you’re also against that…”

Rep. Hartzler: “Absolutely.”

Joey Parker: “And, there are people who say without this the only other option is war. Do you–?”

Rep. Hartzler: “Oh, no, that is, uh, such a false choice. This deal not only allows Iran to have nuclear capability after 10 years, but it also removes that arms embargo, allowing them to buy missiles, within 8 years and arms within 5 years. And it also has no anytime-anywhere-inspections, which is what we really need. And it removes the sanctions, allowing them to have over 100 billion dollars come into their economy, which they can use to continue to shore up the proxies in the area, whether it be Hezbollah or Hamas?? which are our enemies. So, it’s a bad deal. We should’ve gone back and gotten a better deal, and I firmly believe that was possible.”

Joey Parker: “Do you think at least a door is open for communication?”

Rep. Hartzler: “With Iran? Well, they have promised a lot. But the problem is with Iran is that we can’t trust them. Uh, they have not fulfilled the promises in the past, so why do we think they’re going to fulfill those now? Um, so I have sent a letter to the Missouri legislature asking them to look at state options to help put pressure on Iran, uh, that now the President is going to remove at the Federal level. But there’s 11 states which have passed legislation to, uh, prevent the businesses in their state, or state public entities, from investing in the economy of Iran. And, so, I hope Missouri legislature will take steps to help put pressure on Iran, uh, even though now the President is moving forward at the federal level.”

Joey Parker: “And on a closer level here: Take Back The District. This is a new initiative you’re starting, yes?”

Rep. Hartzler: “Well, it is. I’m a former teacher, and I worked with at risk teens for six years, um, many years ago, and I have a real heart, uh, for teenagers. And I’m very aware and concerned about the drug problems. And, uh, it’s been disheartening to find out, now that I’m in Congress and represent this area, that the drug, uh, issue is still a huge problem in our area. When, uh, I had some, job’s fair, I’ve had employers tell me they have jobs available but they can’t find employees who could pass a drug test. Uh, we have the military saying they’re having trouble finding, uh, young men and women, uh, that they can recruit that don’t have a drug problem. 25 percent of our kids in foster care are there because their parents, uh, are, involved in drugs. It’s not because of abuse or neglect. And, so we have an issue, a problem here that we need to address. So I’ve, uh, been working with the others in the district, and we’re gonna, uh, launch an initiative called ‘Take Back the District,’ and we’re gonna start with a conference, uh, coming up here in October, in a few weeks, pulling together as many people as possible to come discuss this issue. We’re gonna have a panel looking at the problem. We’re gonna have another panel looking at some of the solutions and things, uh, our communities are doing to address the problem. And we’re gonna also have a panel on some of the ministries that are working to help people begin a new life. And, uh, we’re gonna close with some, uh, actual stories of people who have come out of that lifestyle, and are living, you know, giving us all hope that you can overcome this. So, we’re also trying to get, uh, the counties in our areas to have drug courts if they don’t have them. So my staff have been working with them, and we’re trying to be helpful with federal grants. Uh, but I’m hopeful that we will come together and take this issue on, and someday we’ll be able to say, ‘The fourth district does not have any drugs in it. People are living free and, uh, to their full potential.'”

Joey Parker: “Are you firmly against the legalization of decriminalization of marijuana?”

Rep. Hartzler: “Oh, I, I am. Uh, we have a drug problem here so why would we want to legalize one, one drug?”

Joey Parker: “How about medical marijuana”

Rep. Hartzler: “Well, I’ve visited with a lot of doctors about this. And they tell me that the, first of all there’s not scientific proof that it does help, uh, certain conditions. But then, secondly, if a doctor does want to prescribe that, that they can have a pill form prescribed to them now that has some of the chemicals in it that people allege is helpful. So there’s no need really to smoke marijuana when there’s these other options available.”

Joey Parker: “Congresswoman Hartzler, thank you very much for joining us.”

Rep. Hartzler: “Thank you for having me.”

Joey Parker: “Good luck with your panels.”

Rep. Hartzler: “Thank you.”

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