Where Missouri’s COPE-endorsed House and Senate candidates stand on working family issues

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To give our readers a better understanding of the positions of Labor-endorsed candidates, the Labor Tribune polled COPE-endorsed candidates for the Missouri House and Senate in a written survey regarding their positions on prevailing wage, so-called “right-to-work,” Amendment 3 “Dirty Missouri,” education funding and minimum wage.

In this busy election season, not all candidates responded to the survey. Following are the responses of those who did.

 

MISSOURI SENATE


District 1

DOUG BECK (D)
Incumbent? No. Beck, a member of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562, has served the past four years as a state representative for House District 92.
Prevailing Wage – Beck, a working member of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562, has been a fierce defender of worker rights, fighting to protect prevailing wage laws and collective bargaining.
“Right-to-work” – Beck opposes so-called ‘right-to-work’ legislation that would lower wages, and other anti-worker legislation.
Amendment 3 – Opposed.
Education funding – “We need to fully fund our schools to give teachers the pay and resources they deserve.”
Minimum wage – “All Missouri workers deserve a living wage. I oppose any rollbacks on minimum wage requirements.”

District 15

DEB LAVENDER (D)
Incumbent? No. Current member of the House of Representatives in the 90th District.
Prevailing Wage – “I support strong prevailing wage laws.”
“Right-to-work” – “I have always voted against RTW.”
Amendment 3 – “I voted for Clean Missouri and spoke against Dirty Missouri (Amendment 3) on the House floor.”
Education funding – “We are very short of adequate funding for K-12 and higher education.”
Minimum wage – “$15/hour should be the minimum wage.”

District 23

RICHARD ORR (D)
Incumbent? No.
Prevailing Wage – “I think prevailing wage is essential to ensure quality and fair wages in public works projects.”
“Right-to-work” – “I am strongly against RTW. It lowers wages and encourages freeloaders.”
Amendment 3 – “It must not pass as it would force a return to partisan gerrymandering!”
Education funding – “State support for K-12 must be increased and not cut. Further funding cuts are indefensible!”
Minimum wage – “The minimum wage for all workers must be $12 by 2023, but I would prefer $15.”

MISSOURI HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES


District 65

BILL OTTO (D)
Incumbent? No.
Prior political experienceServed in the Missouri House from 2012 to 2016 representing the 70th District. Also served as chairman of the House Labor Caucus from 2014 to 2016.
Prevailing Wage – “Prevailing wage protects wages and taxpayer investment in quality work. Without prevailing wage, we will have teams of sub-quality work coming from ‘right-to-work’ states, leaving public entities to make repairs.”
“Right-to-work” – “I voted to sustain Gov. Nixon’s veto in 2014 and worked tirelessly to repeal the law passed by the Legislature in 2018.So called ‘right-to-work’ drives down wages and the quality of life for every worker.”
Amendment 3 – “I collected signatures for CLEAN in 2018 and vehemently oppose Amendment 3, which was proposed primarily for the Republicans to gerrymander the legislative districts.”
Education funding – “For years education funding did not meet the formula set by the legislature.Instead of raising the funding levels, the majority lowered the levels and declared the schools “fully-funded.”This has left many of our districts woefully short of funds to educate our children. As painfully demonstrated this year, school districts need the funds left on the table by the shortfalls in budgeting for the last 20 years.”
Minimum wage – “We need to protect the voice of the people by honoring their decision to raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour while working to bring the wage to $15 an hour.”

DISTRICT 69

GRETCHEN BANGERT (D)
Incumbent? Yes
Prevailing Wage –“I support Prevailing Wage. We must pay good wages in order to receive the best possible public works projects.”
“Right-to-work” – “I am against so-called ‘right-to-work.’ It will weaken our unions. The voters have spoken and the legislature has no business trying to overturn the peoples’ vote.”
Amendment 3 – “The people overwhelmingly voted for Clean Missouri and this would overturn it. It is wrong to go against the will of the people.”
Education funding – “Our schools and teachers must receive proper funding in order to provide the education that our future workforce needs. We must make this a priority for our state.”
Minimum wage – “This wage needs to be $12-an-hour and I believe even more. Exempting private and religious schools from having to pay the fair wage is shameful.”

District 71

LaDONNA APPELBAUM (D)
Incumbent? Yes
Prevailing Wage –“Protect it and make it stronger.”
“Right-to-work” – “Right-to-work is wrong for Missouri.”
Amendment 3 – “A big ‘NO’ vote.”
Education funding – “We need to fully fund our schools and increase teachers’ pay.”
Minimum wage – “We need to increase the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour.”

District 81

STEVEN BUTZ (D)
Incumbent? Yes
Prevailing Wage –“Prevailing wage is critically important to ensuring a solid wage level and a fair competitive bid process.”
“Right-to-work” – “It’s bad policy and Missouri has rejected it firmly.
Amendment 3 – “Amendment 3 is a ridiculous attempt to overturn the will of the voters …again.”
Education funding – “Education is the foundation of our future. Invest now and we can reverse so many negative outcomes in the future.”
Minimum wage – “I support increases to the minimum wage. Key to this is indexing to ensure a steady, manageable increase. Prior to the voter-approved increase, too many years passed by, thus causing an actual decrease in workers’ pay.


District 82

DONNA BARINGER (D)
Incumbent? Yes. Previously served as City of St. Louis alderwoman.
Prevailing Wage – “I support prevailing wage and work against legislation that weakens it.”
“Right-to-work” – Against.
Amendment 3 – Vote NO.
Education funding – “We need to fully fund the original ‘real’ funding formula.”
Minimum wage – “I voted against the bill allowing for exemptions” from paying the minimum wage.

District 86

JOE ADAMS (D)
Incumbent? Yes
Prevailing Wage – “Prevailing wage must be protected.”
“Right-to-work” – “I have always been against it, and will always be opposed.”
Amendment 3 – “Vote NO on Amendment 3.”
Education funding – “Education funding must be increased, also funding for early childhood education.”
Minimum wage – “Minimum wage must be a living wage, and must be raised.”

District 91

SARAH UNSICKER (D)
Incumbent? Yes
Prevailing Wage – “I oppose efforts to roll back prevailing wage laws.”
“Right-to-work” – “I oppose ‘right-to-work’ laws.”
Amendment 3 – “Amendment 3 will do great harm to the citizen of Missouri through partisan gerrymandering and by not counting all citizens.”
Education funding – “We need to increase our funding for education.”
Minimum wage – “I support increasing the minimum wage. Someone who works for a living should be able to make a living off their job.

District 94

JEAN PRETTO (D)
Incumbent? No
Previous political experience– Three terms on Mehlville School Board.
Prevailing Wage – “It is essential! My concern is that as a school board member, unskilled, non-local labor is used, making work under par and taking money out of our community.”
“Right-to-work” – “I have been fighting against RTW my entire adult life and will continue to fight against it.”
Amendment 3 – “The people made their voice clear” with the passage of Clean Missouri. Now, leave it alone!”
Education funding – “As a public school advocate, we need to fully fund the Foundation Formula (for funding public schools) and stop ‘lowering’ the amount and considering it ‘fully funded.’”
Minimum wage – “Minimum wage must be provided. We must eradicate theterm ‘working poor’ in our lifetime.”

District 95

ANN ZIMPFER (D)
Incumbent? No
Prevailing Wage – “I absolutely support prevailing wage and any future endeavors to keep it strong. Prevailing wage will ensure worker protections.”
“Right-to-work” – “We need to continue to honor the voice of voters when they rejected Prop. A (RTW). In the 95th District, 63 percent of voters voted NO.”
Amendment 3 – “In the 95th District, voters supported Amendment 1 (Clean Missouri) by 58 percent. Amendment 3 will undo voter support for fair maps and fair redistricting, including children and non-citizens.”
Education funding – “The strength of our public schools makes our communities strong. We must put priority on funding public schools equitably across the state. We must empower and support teachers. We must support greater investment in education.”
Minimum wage – “We must all support increasing the minimum wage as outlined in Proposition B. A strong minimum wage supports a strong economy in our communities.”

 

District 96

ERICA HOFFMAN (D)
Incumbent? No
Prevailing Wage – “We need to strengthen it.”
“Right-to-work” – “Right to work is wrong for Missouri.”
Amendment 3 – “NO on Amendment 3.”
Education funding – “I am a former teacher and NEA member. I support increasing education funding.”
Minimum wage – “I support increasing the minimum wage to $15/hour.”

District 105

CHRISTINE HYMAN (D)
Incumbent? No
Prevailing Wage – “I support prevailing wage.”
“Right-to-work” – “Right to work is wrong. I do not support RTW.”
Amendment 3 – “I oppose Amendment 3.”
Education funding – “We need to re-work and fully fund the education formula.”
Minimum wage – “Minimum wage should be a livable wage of $15 now.”


DISTRICT 106

CINDY BERNE (D)
Incumbent? No
Prevailing Wage – “I come from a union family, so I understand how important prevailing wage is. As a state representative, I will work to strengthen Missouri’s prevailing wage requirements.”
“Right-to-work” – “‘Right-to-work’ is a scam. I helped collect signatures against it in 2018, and I’ll do whatever it takes to keep it from coming to Missouri.”
Amendment 3 – “Amendment 3 is designed to trick Missouri voters into undoing historic ethics reforms that we already passed in 2018. Don’t fall for it. Join me in voting NO.”
Education funding – “When career politicians make budget cuts, public education is always first on the chopping block. That makes no sense. I’ll help lead the fight to protect public education across Missouri.”
Minimum wage – “I will never support any measure that cuts wages for Missouri’s workers. A working family cannot survive on $7.85/hr.”


District 110

JOHN KIEHNE (D)
Incumbent? No
Prior political experience Previously ran for Missouri Senate District 26 in 2018.
Prevailing Wage – “I believe that we must preserve and protect the prevailing wage.”
“Right-to-work” – “I oppose ‘right-to-work.’ My opponent, Rep. Dottie Bailey, supports ‘right-to-work’ despite the fact the majority of our district voted “No” on Prop A in 2018 rejecting ‘right-to-work.”
Amendment 3 – “I supported CLEAN in 2018 and I oppose ‘Dirty Missouri’ as it would not only usher in more severe gerrymandering and also miscount residents in Missouri by only counting voters to draw districts from. My opponent, Rep. Bailey, supports ‘Dirty Missouri’ despite the fact that her constituents voted to approve CLEAN in 2018.”
Education funding – “We must fully fund our public schools and pay our teachers a competitive wage. My opponent, Rep. Bailey, supports Charter schools, vouchers, and advocated to prevent private school employees from earning the new higher minimum wage instead of advocating for underpaid public school staff in Missouri. In addition we need to not only lower the cost of post-secondary tuition but also support organization efforts for college professors – including adjuncts – who often earn a lower salary without benefits or a guarantee of employment.”
Minimum wage – “I support raising Missouri’s minimum wage and believe that must always work toward helping to facilitate workers being able to earn a living wage.”

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