3rd Congressional District Democrats see issues differently

Jefferson City Democrat Velma Steinman said she wants to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives “because I feel that our nation’s and state’s veterans need a strong voice in Washington, D.C. — Washington is broke and needs to be fixed.

“I am not saying that I can fix it, but I can give a fresh new insight on the problems that Congress is facing and I can address the issues facing our citizens and our veterans and their families.”

Steinman listed the five biggest issues facing Congress in the next few years as:

• Fixing the Veterans Administration — “Our nation’s veterans and their families deserve the best that this nation has to offer. When they signed on, or back when they were drafted to serve in our nation’s military to defend our way of life, our country made a promise to them and their families.

“It is a disgrace that these promises are sometimes not being met.”

• Reviewing health care — Noting that unemployed people “cannot afford to purchase insurance” and that most single people or those who are “married without children or not disabled can’t qualify for public assistance in some states,” Steinman said the nation needs to find a way to help.

“Without the help, their medical needs are creating a drain on society as a whole,” she explained. “Helping them now would be a cost savings in the long run for us all.”

• Unemployment — “Employers and the government need to work together to create new jobs and to provide training to the nation’s unemployed. If no work is available in a person’s choice of work, they should be provided assistance in getting training needed to change professions.

“The sooner we can get people off of assistance, the better their lives are and the drain on society is eased.”

Steinman also criticized the current Congress for failing to pass the Emergency Unemployment Extension, because “they had more than enough time to do this and it should have taken priority over hearings on special government appointments.”

• Reviewing and overhauling public assistance, with aid based on current needs — “Currently it is based on the person’s needs from the prior year — but the person may have been working last year, is currently unemployed and needs the assistance now.”

She called the program “a hand-up, not a hand-out” for many people.

• More “accountability in government” — “If elected, I would be 100 percent accountable to the constituents of the 3rd Congressional District and the citizens of the state of Missouri,” Steinman promised. “It is their interests that I would be there to promote and protect, not my just own.”

Courtney Denton did not provide a list of issues as the News Tribune requested.

But she has discussed issues on her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/CDentonforCongress, in no particular order of importance.

• Denton has asked supporters to contact Missouri lawmakers and ask them to block proposed “Right to Work” laws in the state, saying: “Republican representatives have made passing Right-to-Work a priority in Missouri, in spite of all the evidence against it.”

She also said: “We must protect our unions as they are who protect our laborers.”

• Denton said she supported President Obama’s call for a higher minimum wage law, explaining: “Too many families are forced into poverty even working multiple jobs.

“Raising the minimum wage will also give the economy a boost — 88 percent of those who will benefit most from the minimum wage raise are 20 and over.”

• Denton also wants to help close “the gender pay gap that still strongly exists” in the United States, saying: “”It is a sad fact that the gender pay gap is still a rampant issue.”

She noted that today’s world has many technological improvements, such as “a rover on Mars and at-hand access to news and the Internet,” but that “pay gap naysayers use smoke and mirrors to try and make this issue seem like an illusion.

“The reality is women still make 23 cents less than men per hour, even when equally qualified in the same position,” Denton said. “This madness needs to stop.”

• Denton wants more efforts supporting “sustainable agriculture and conservation” as well as “renewable sources, and clean air and water” as keys for improving the environment, she said.

• Denton thinks there needs to be a better public debate, after some of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent rulings.

She said this month’s ruling in the “Hobby Lobby” religious freedom case “has larger, much more concerning implications,” since the high court ruled in the “Citizens United” case several years ago that all corporations “are ‘people’ with free speech rights,” and that the Hobby Lobby case said “‘closely held corporations’ are people with religious rights. Where is the court going to ever draw the line on corporate personhood?”

She wonders if further limits could include racial intolerance “under the banner of religious freedom,” effectively nullifying “equal protection rights previously held?”

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