Ronna Ford, Democratic candidate for Missouri’s 129th District Representative, welcomed attendees to the Oct. 16 Dallas County Democrats “Meet the Candidates” barbecue fundraiser. 

“I’m glad to see so many people supporting the Dallas County Democrats. These are good people doing good things,” Ford said. 

Ford noted that in the last election, county Democratic votes increased. She encouraged people to keep the ball moving. Ford’s number one goal was to defeat “Right to Work,” which was voted down in the August primary election. Her next goals include supporting Proposition B to raise the state minimum wage. 

“I saw poverty up close and personal when I was a teacher,” Ford said. She noted right now Prop B has more support than Right to Work had opposition before its vote.

Amendment 1 would limit campaign contributions, limit lobbyist contributions to elected officials and hire a state demographer to redistrict the state. It is not in the citizens’ best interest for leaders to be bought, she said. Amendment 1 would also close the “revolving door” between special interest groups and elected officials. There would be a two-year waiting period between finishing a term and working for an interest group. 

A state-hired demographer would draw new district lines for compactness and contingency, Ford said. It would be in accordance to the Voting Rights Act. 

Ford’s final goal is to save Claire McCaskill’s U.S. Senate seat. 

“Claire is not always as left as some of us want, but she’s much better than the alternative,” Ford said. Ford encouraged voters to elect people who are friendly to working people. One of those people is Renee Hoagenson, she said. 

Hoagenson, Democratic candidate for Missouri District 4 U.S. Representative, told an attentive crowd their voice is what she will carry to D.C. Her goal is to represent constituents, even if it means staying all night to talk and answer questions. 

Hoagenson was born in St. Clair to a family of farmers, ranchers and union folks, she said. At 6 years old, her family moved to Warrensburg. For the last 15 years, Hoagenson has been a small business owner. She both operated the Sedalia Showcase and ran for office for 11 months, until she sold the magazine in February to focus on her campaign, she said. 

From her “underdog” position, Hoagenson raised $400,000 in small donations, with the average donation being only $85. Hoagenson sold her first two businesses in the middle of last decade’s recession.

“It was bad market timing. It left my family financially decimated,” Hoagenson said. “I was scared of not having enough money to pay the bills.”

As someone who was financially insecure and emerged from it, Hoagenson began to wonder what it would be like for those who remain financially insecure. Those people work more than 40 hours just to be above the poverty level, she said. 

“Family values are not instilled in the next generation when parents are always working. We trap people in poverty, then shame them for it,” Hoagenson said. A catastrophic health care event could force many people into bankruptcy, she said. 

As residents of one of the wealthiest countries in the world, Hoagenson said it is immoral to ask at what point health is unaffordable. While raising wages to support basic human dignity, Hoagenson plans to support small businesses. She also supports the idea of “Medicare for all” tax-funded health care. People who have insurance spend about a quarter of their take home pay on health care. Without that expense, 25 percent of people’s income will be back in their pockets and back in the local economy, Hoagenson said.  

Public education should be fully funded, with teachers earning a living wage and maintaining a five-day school week. The government needs to honor commitments to veterans. Her political housecleaning includes the areas of campaign finance, lobbying and redistricting. Those areas will help “fix the foundation for families,” she said. H

Having conversations with friends and neighbors will help break down the harmful sports team mentality in politics, she said. Hoagenson aims to serve and invest in the people. Hoagenson has tried to organize a debate with her incumbent opponent, Rep. Vicky Hartzler, but it has been to no avail, she said. 

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