By TIM ROWDEN
State Rep. Deb Lavender (D-Kirkwood), who is challenging incumbent Republican Andrew Koenig for Missouri’s 15th Senate District, is calling out the state’s weak response to helping workers, families and business impacted by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
“Right now, our treasury has $2 billion more than we had in January,” Lavender, who serves on the House Budget Committee said. “We’re supposed to be helping people who need help because of the coronavirus and it’s just sitting in the bank in Jefferson City. So we’re working to see if we can still get that out this year to help families to buy food.
“The federal government has left a hole here in Missouri for a while,” she said.
Lavender also pledged to take her budget experience to the Senate to finally implement expansion of Missouri Medicaid program, which was approved by voters in August.
“Many of us have worked for years for that to happen. And, thankfully, voters took the bull by the horns,” Lavender told a gathering of supporters Oct. 3 at United Food and Commercial Workers Local 655’s union hall in Ballwin. “You got it on the ballot, and you voted yes by an overwhelming margin across this state, and now it’s our turn to implement that. And I hope that we’re able to do that this next year for you.”
INVEST IN CITIZENS, NOT CORPORATIONS
Lavender has spent more than two decades as a small business owner, as a physical therapist and sole owner of an outpatient physical therapy clinic. She knows firsthand, she says, how the tax system favors large corporations with tax cuts that have hurt our ability to invest in Missouri.
“Until we invest in the people of this state, we will not live up to our true potential.”
Lavender supports increasing funding for public schools, noting that Missouri ranks 34th in state funding for education.
“Our schools have an ‘F’ grade,” Lavender says on her campaign website. “We must invest in our students’ education, so they have every opportunity to succeed, especially as technology has raised the bar for all the jobs of the future.”
As state senator, Lavender says, she would increase funding for public schools, including transportation funding.
VOTE ‘NO’ ON 3
On Amendment 3, the Republican-backed ballot measure that asks voters to overturn the redistricting reforms they approved 2018 and enshrine in the Missouri Constitution partisan gerrymandering of legislative districts, Lavender pulled no punches.
“All the Republicans want to do this year is overturn your vote, and keep us in partisan process here in Missouri,” Lavender said. “And it’s time to tell them that they can’t overturn your vote without your coming back and telling them to cut that out.”
She urged supports to vote NO on Amendment 3 on Nov. 3.