Place of residence: Columbia
Occupation: State representative
Education: Masters of social work – University of Missouri
Political experience: 2 years as the current state representative in the 46th District
Opponent: Cathy Richards
Recent state income tax cuts have been hailed by some as an economic jumpstart and derided by others as taking money that’s needed for social services and education. What is your opinion?
We have seen significant funding cuts to many critical public programs over the years. Our K-12 public schools have lost significant funding for transportation, higher education continues to see funding cuts and we don’t have nearly enough money to maintain our roads and bridges.
I did not support the recent tax cuts when we can not adequately fund significant programs in our state.
Voters will decide Nov. 6 whether to raise Missouri’s gas tax. Do you support raising the tax?
We need to do something to address our crumbling roads and infrastructure, which is why I support Prop D that will be on the ballot in November. If passed, Prop D will result in four annual bumps to the fuel tax.
Quite simply, this is a public safety issue. Over 3,000 bridges in Missouri were classified structurally deficient in 2017, which is the fourth highest amount of any state in the US. Missouri’s current fuel tax is 17 cents per gallon and hasn’t been increased since 1996.
Voters will also decide on whether to approve any of three medical marijuana proposals. What are your thoughts on the issue?
I support Amendment 2 for a number of reasons. Amendment 2 is patient-centered and would authorize physicians to prescribe medical marijuana for an extensive list of medical conditions. Also, there is a catch-all provision allowing marijuana to treat any other medical conditions when a physician deems it appropriate. I appreciate that Amendment 2 dedicates resources to support Missouri’s veterans. The revenue will go towards supporting state veterans’ homes, health care services for military veterans and other programs overseen by the Missouri Veterans Commission.
What other key issues do you see facing the state?
There are hundreds of thousands of Missourians who lack access to health care and mental health care because Missouri is one of seventeen states that has not expanded medicaid.
This is a significant issue that impacts every community in our state. Missouri is also not immune to the opioid epidemic that has swept our nation. There are several harm reduction policies we can support to address this public health crisis and that also includes expanding medicaid. Low income Americans have been able to get treatment for opioid addiction in states that have expanded medicaid.