Common Sense, Christian, Conservative
Common Sense, Christian, Conservative
1. Senate Bill 391 was an attempt to take away local control and the rights of local elected representatives to enact common sense safeguards to protect their constituents and communities from the negative impacts from out of state and foreign owned corporate CAFO's. SB 391 was a prime example of state governmental overreach. This bill was supported by corporate agriculture interests and Governor Parson. Do you support this bill?
Some parts of the bill I agree with and some I don’t agree with. My brother-in-law is a small beef herd producer and has brought several things to my attention about the plight of small producers and the competition with CAFO’s. I am not sure SB391 is really about out of state and foreign owned corporations. I would have to hear more information from the Cattleman’s Association about their views on this bill. I think some of the attacks on CAFO’s and cattle production is being put forward by people who don’t want cattle or pork or chicken produced for any reason. PETA and other Vegan organizations want to attack the cattle, pork and poultry production industry. We have the safest and most economical food supply anywhere in the world.
2. Are you in favor of the recent Missouri Health Department maintaining a spreadsheet that tracks menstrual cycles of Planned Parenthood patients? Is this a real question?
3. ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) gives cover to such businesses as coal and payday loans and pharmaceutical companies and others. It also passes cookie cutter model legislation for states. As a potential first time state legislator, ALEC has come a blueprint to follow because you rarely have previous experience as a state elected official, which leaves you to follow the typical party line votes you may take. Do you support groups like ALEC?
I have actually heard of the ALEC helping to write legislation. I am not for/or against. I am sure they might be able to share how other states might tackle the same types of problems and could be a resource that might be useful. You don’t need to recreate the wheel to get the language right on bills you want to do particular things for the state you work for. If an organization can help with legislation you are wanting to write, I don’t see the problem with it.
4. There are now some 1,300,000 in our state prison system nation wide. The juvenile detention is also disturbing at 15,000. Overcrowding threatens public safety and state budgets. Are you in favor of criminal justice reforms in Missouri for nonviolent offenders from prison to successful evidence based programs as a positive reintroduction of offenders into society?
Yes, in principle. I think the First Step Act as signed into law by President Donald J. Trump works to lower the number of people incarcerated in the US and introduce them back into society while minimizing recidivism. Another problem we face as we reintroduce these offenders back into society is a lack of half-way houses and help they may need to properly reenter society. I have visited our prison here in Moberly and met with some of these incarcerated individuals. These people need our attention and our help to become productive citizens again.
5. In 2011 a new state law created testing of TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program) participants for illegal drug use. A positive test would result in the loss of TANF benefits for up to three years. In a recent decision, The Missouri Department of Social Services stated they will NOT penalize people utilizing this service with the loss of state benefits if they test positive for marijuana as long as they have a state-issued card allowing them to legally purchase cannabis for medical use. In 2018, with 65.6 % support, Missouri voters ratified a constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana for medical use. What is your opinion on the Missouri Department of Social Services decision?
It sounds like a person might be trying to abuse the system. If they are on a list requiring them to not test positive for drugs including cannabis or they will lose funding; then they should not do cannabis or other drugs if they want the government support. If they get a doctor to write them a prescription to get medical cannabis it sounds like they are trying to get a prescription for their recreational drug use. There are people with medical issues that might be helped with cannabis but I think there will be many who abuse medical marijuana.
6. This question comes from one of our constituents in Dist. 6.
"As we are beginning to see the effects of climate change in the form of more intense weather, including droughts, floods and storms, what are your plans to help Missourians face the resulting property damage, economic loss and threats to our health?"-
As a scientist, I have a Masters in Analytical Chemistry, I am not sure that we can say that any particular storm or weather event we are experiencing in recent years can be directly attributed to climate change. We have had one of the wettest years on record for Missouri this last year and it resulted in record crop production (a good thing). However, the flooding along the Missouri and the Mississippi was a major problem. There will be good and bad things that come with weather as there always has been. We already have in place resources on the Federal level and the State level for disaster preparedness. We should continue to do things to make sure our flooding is not exacerbated by the Army Corp of Engineers and the levy system along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. One prediction of climate change proponents is an increase of rain globally. If this occurs the net affect on the world could be positive from this one aspect of climate change because fully 40 % of the world is considered “arid” as of 2015.
7. "Clean Missouri" was passed by the voters in 2018. Part of CLEAN deals with Republican gerrymandered state districts. My hometown of Marceline which is part of district 6 has 3 republican state representatives in a town of 2300 population. After the 2020 census, how should these new district lines be redrawn? Should it be a independent state demographer, or a bipartisan state panel, or one chosen by the state auditor, or others?
The US Supreme court has actually weighed in on this issue. While the US Supreme Court has ruled that redistricting that discriminates on racial or ethnic grounds is unconstitutional, the Supreme Court of the United States has not been willing to issue the same type of strong ruling on partisan redistricting. I understand the difficulties in arranging districts. When you are trying to evenly distribute populations in blocks of about 38,000 or so people, lines are going to be drawn that makes somebody unhappy. Is sounds like you would have a Republican legislator no matter how the district was drawn for Marceline since you have three republican state representatives. Perhaps, your views of abortion on demand, gun control and open borders are not in line with the values of the majority of the people in our district (district 6) or the surrounding districts.
8. Under a bill filed in 2018 therapists would risk losing their state-issued licenses if they engage in "any form of conversion therapy of a minor." The Republican controlled state legislature has a history of advocating against LGBTQ issues. The organization called CHANGED advocates for conversion therapy. Do you believe this type of harmful therapy should be legal?
Do you want to tell people what types of therapy they can try? I thought you were for choice? How can the government outlaw one type of therapy over another type of therapy. Outlaw acupuncture? Holistic medicine? Outlaw chiropractic care? I am not for telling a therapist what they can and cant use to help someone who wants their help. Some people believe this can type of therapy can help people change their feelings and behaviors.
9. Missouri, with its more than 2 million rural county residents, is among the states with the least broadband access. The current strategy is for the government to contribute grants to businesses and other entities expanding high speed internet access. A plan always toted by republicans as being "Socialist" since it involves the government and social improvment. Much of rural Randolph country, which is part of District 6, only have access to one broadband provider, according to the FCC. Do you believe high speed internet improvements should be a major priority for all elected officials?
Yes, We should do whatever we can to facilitate the private sector providing High Speed Internet to rural Missouri. Republican Legislator Louis Riggs sponsored and passes a bill this session ho help bring broad band Internet access to rural Missouri. It appears that Republicans do want to solve the problems you are talking about.
10. Finally; You have stated in your most recent video that voters can contact you. This is my third attempt to get answers to questions...you have refused. You do however, mention voters can contact you with donations. How do the voters in district 6 know what kitchen table issues you stand for unless you let the public know? Your Democratic opponent supports transparency and has agreed to address the concerns of the citizens of the 6th District.
I know you continue to try and use this lack of answering questions as my lack of transparency but of course this just isn’t true. I will have answered 40 questions of your choosing not my choosing on my webpage. I have published my policy positions on my webpage at http://edlewismo.com which all constituents should visit before making a decision about who they want representing them. I actually haven’t seen my opponent's answers to any of these questions. I support the right to life. I support our 1st and 2nd amendment rights. I am a common sense, Christian, conservative. I have lots of people as constituents and have answered many questions at the meetings I have already attended in Moberly, Cairo, Huntsville and Macon. I haven’t made it to Marceline yet but I intend to speak with the Republican Club there in February and you would be welcome to come and here my responses to their questions.
11. During the 2019 legislative session, lawmakers tried to pass the Narcotics Control Act - AKA - Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). Missouri is the lone state that has not passed such a law. If elected would you vote for a PDMP?
Do you trust our government to keep our records safe? That is the problem people have with this program. If we can limit the scope of the program to focus only on narcotics and opioids, maybe.
12. 61 school districts across Missouri have enacted four-day school weeks instead of the traditional five-day week. They’ve been put in this position by lawmakers who decided that preserving giveaways to special interests was more important than funding for our schools. When state government squeezes education funding to the point where so many of our school districts have no choice but to cut the school week to four days it tells our kids that politicians care more about saving breaks for special interests than their futures. As a republican, what side do you fall on?
Once again a false narrative in your question. The reason that districts are frequently going to a four-day work week is for several issues not just saving money. Acquiring and retaining qualified staff that may leave to a larger district is often cited as the number one reason for going to the four-day school weeks instead of the traditional five-day week. I have actually answered this question already. I am not sure whether a four-day school week is beneficial for all districts but if some districts want to adopt that they have the right to do so.
13. Missouri is currently facing a struggle in the foster care system, with an unknown number of children being diverted to friends or family after their parents lose custody of them. There are currently more than 12,000 children in foster care in Missouri, and this number excludes the estimated 5,000-6,000 children that are in diversion. As a law maker if elected would you agree some of the solutions could be:
(1) Reducing training time required to become a foster parent?
(2) Creating more positions in the Department of Social Services?
(3) Investing state funds to track the number of children that have
been diverted to family or friends after their parents lose custody?
Foster care is absolutely imperative in Missouri. I would be willing to look at reducing training time and creating more positions and using state funds to help with the backlog of children not able to receive services in the Missouri foster care system.
14. The University of Missouri’s ban on concealed guns was upheld in court earlier this week, as Circuit Judge Jeff Harris ruled that the university’s policies do not violate the state constitution’s guarantee of the right to bear arms, and furthermore, it supports the university’s interest in promoting safety on its campuses. Tell your voters your opinion on this ruling?
The Circuit Judge has made his ruling and I am sure it will be appealed. Soft targets, locations where guns are prohibited, are almost always the targets for mass shooters and terrorists. Having armed law abiding citizens will protect the safety of citizens whether on campus, in churches, or other public location.
15. Would you support legislation that requires all new teachers and support staff to be placed into, or to be given a choice to opt into a defined contribution plan such as a 401 (K) vs. the current defined benefit plan (PSRS)?
No, The integrity of the PSRS and its strength is one part of our system that is actually working. Keep your hands off of the Public School Retirement System.
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Sherry Russell Treasurer