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44th Missouri House District: Cheri Toalson Reisch

Party: Republican

Opponent: Jacque Sample

Residence: Hallsville

Occupation: Legal clerk, former city clerk in Hallsville

Education: Certified as municipal clerk and court administrator

Previous political experience: House member since 2017, former mayor of Hallsville

Family: Two sons

What is your position on Amendment 3, which would roll back parts of the Clean Missouri amendment voters approved in 2018?

I'm in favor of Amendment 3, and I will be voting yes on it.

The way that it was changed, I believe puts all the power into one statewide officeholder, and that's a state auditor's office, which ironically, happens to be the only statewide officeholder that's a Democrat. I like the old way where it was bipartisan with an equal number of Republicans and Democrats. And then if they can't get a consensus on the maps, it would go to a judge.

How will Medicaid expansion affect the 44th District?

The problem with the Medicaid expansion, which was an initiative petition, it did not come before the legislature. We cannot afford it. There was no funding mechanism built into the amendment. And so where are we going to get the money?

Now, it all sounds like a great idea. But this was not going to affect those that need it the most like women, children, the elderly and disabled. This is going to able-bodied adults who can either work or get better jobs or self-pay. So we don't have a funding mechanism and may not be able to come up with the money to pay for it.

Has the state done enough to fight COVID-19?

I think the state government has done a good job. I commend Gov. Parson for the role he has played and Dr. Randall Williams, the head of our health ... department.

What concerns me is that each individual county has its own health department. And so every county you go to can have different rules and regulations. And so there may or may not be some changes in the law next year or looking at proposed legislation, because an unelected person is making all the decisions instead of a county commission or city council. So that kind of concerns me. So I travel the state, and so I may not know what one county's laws are versus another county.

The Missouri General Assembly took up legislation to address violent crime this summer and the issue is likely to come up again. What should the General Assembly do to address the problem?

So it's multifaceted and there's no one right answer.

I sit on the judiciary committee and we heard from the (St. Louis) Mayor Lyda Krewson and the chief of police of the city of St. Louis, and they could not get their city to expand the residency requirement for first responders, police officers, so they begged us to change it at the state level.

And so I am just shocked -- this is not just a Kansas City, St. Louis issue that the number of murders keep rising, but they're not being prosecuted and what the other legislation that was passed in special session had to do with the witness protection program. People are afraid to come forward. They're afraid that they're going to get hurt or killed or their families if they -- you know the phrase, snitches get stitches -- or something.

So we will have to come back to fund program it since we've passed it, but this is a Columbia issue and a Boone County issue. My district in northeast Columbia has most of the murders and shootings and violent crimes. So this is a local concern, too. We need to back the blue. We need to help our law enforcement do their job and help make our community safe.

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ABC 17 News Team

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