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Interview with Bethany Mann, Democratic candidate for Missouri’s Third Congressional District


Bethany Mann, a Democrat from Brentwood in suburban St. Louis, has taken on a difficult job.

She's trying to unseat U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, a Republican incumbent first elected in 2019, in the sprawling district that runs from Mid-Missouri to the Illinois border. Since it was redrawn this year, the district also now includes part of Boone County and Columbia.

Mann easily emerged from a four-person Democratic primary, taking 62% of the vote.

Her campaign focuses on investment in childcare, education, health care and infrastructure.

Marissa Hollowed: Tell viewers a little about yourself.

Bethany Mann: I grew up in Foristell, Missouri, I went to the University of Illinois and got a degree in chemistry there on the Springfield campus. I started my career as an environmental chemist at the EPA, testing water, soil and air samples for things like heavy metal contaminants and pesticides. I've worked in manufacturing and agriculture for the past 10 years. And now I think it's it's time to start making a difference. I'm passionate about education and science and technology, and bringing people together. And my goal is to make Missouri and Missouri's Third District, a leader when it comes to important issues that build up working families and strengthen the middle class.

Hollowed: So as you mentioned, you're from suburban St. Louis. How can you connect with rural Mid-Missouri voters?

Mann: Well, I'm from Foristell, so my kid brothers played roller hockey up in Warrenton. I'm very familiar with the lives that just everyday people live out there. And so one of the ways that I can act as I'm actually in the district talking to people. I cover 16 counties, I talk to people within the district every day, I hear about the struggles that they have with accessing health care, or finding good education for their kids. And being out among the people talking to citizens is how you stay connected.

Hollowed: And why do you think this is a district that can be flipped?

Mann: Well, it is a challenge, it is a very considered very strong conservative district. And I believe that it can be flipped, because I think that a lot of people who live in the district feel completely cut off and misrepresented or not represented at all by their elected officials. And that that's led to just widespread disenfranchisement among any party. Regardless whether you have an R or D by your name, so, this district can be flipped if you go out and talk to people and listen to the problems that they face and give them some hope that somebody actually can go to Washington and make a difference for them.

Hollowed: So do you think that Democrats can keep control of the House?

Mann: It's gonna be a challenge. And I think that that we can. I believe that we have strong messaging when we lead strongly with our values, like making sure everybody has a good education, that we're investing in American infrastructure, that means good jobs, clean water, and lots of technology, and making sure that everybody has access to health care, I think when we lead with those values, and talk about ways that we make a difference, and how that impacts people economically, that's when hearts and minds start to change. And I'm so energized by everything that I'm seeing, as I travel throughout the district, I'm seeing little Democratic clubs, that when I first start to go in and talk to them, they only had five or six people. Just recently, I was out at an event in Hermann and we had over 50 people there, and they were just energized and out talking to their neighbors. And it's the people of this district that are making a difference. And it's my job to just serve and amplify their voice.

Hollowed: Your campaign focuses on investment in childcare, and you just talked about education. How can we fund those investments?

Mann: So one of the ways that we can properly fund these investments is just by making sure that we close a lot of the corporate loopholes that allow big corporations to profit off the backs of American workers. So investing in things like education and childcare, it really is just making sure that we're allocating resources to those programs. And those resources when they're allocated, do get properly dispersed to the states for the programs that they're intended to serve.

Hollowed: Do you think local voters support Medicare for all?

Mann: I think that they do. I think Medicare is a very popular program. It is not an entitlement program. We all pay into this program with the good faith that our elected officials will strengthen and protect that. Unfortunately, many Republicans have wanted to sunset programs like Medicare and Social Security, which would effectively privatize those programs and allow big corporations to profit off of some of our most vulnerable people. A program like Medicare for All is even economically feasible. All we really need to do -- and Elizabeth Warren has a great plan for this. She proposes taxing big corporations who make in excess of $100 million. Everything over $100 million, you just tax at a half percent. That is all that it would take to come up with a $1 trillion to make this happen. And everyone deserves access to affordable quality health care. And I think Medicare for All is a good plan to be able to accomplish that. It allows us to strengthen and defend what is already a popular program. And it gives us all access and that's what Americans deserve.

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