Sunday, August 20, 2006

Hagan Jacks Around with the Issues

Nancy Hagan, democratic candidate for the 135th district, and I are finally in contact. She reports that there were technical difficulties and she never received my emails to her. She is getting them now and has answered a list of questions sent. She sent them to two different emails to ensure they go through: awesome. I did not edit the response for grammar and spelling. Here’s what she has to say:

Thank you for your patience in hearing back from me. I applaude your blog for offering another avenue for public discourse, and I hope that this Q&A is just the beginning of our conversation as the campaign unfolds. – Nancy

JACK: The Medical Assistance for Workers with Disabilities (MAWD). This is an issue that was fast tracked during the last session, but then stalled in the Senate.

HAGAN: I oppose Matt Blunt's cuts to MAWD that the legislature approved in 2005. I am appalled that there are people in Jefferson City (my opponent included) who are playing politics with this issue. When I am elected to represent the 135th District I will sponsor legislation to restore all (not just a politically-motivated pittance) of the money cut from this important program. We are not only losing out on the talents of those workers who have been driven out of the workplace, but the money they would have earned that
could be circulating through our state's economy.

JACK: Detail your feelings on embryonic stem-cell research, which has garnered a lot of attention recently.

HAGAN: I support Constitutional Amendment No. 2 to protect stem cell research in Missouri. I am also supportive of the human cloning ban that is a part of the amendment. This research is our best hope to finding lifesaving cures to the many dieseases and conditions afflicting our friends and neighbors. We cannot outlaw hope. We must continue the push to find cures.

JACK: How do you feel about raising Missouri's minimum wage?

HAGAN: I support the increase, and am pleased that the ballot language includes future increases tied to the consumer price index. The current minimum wage is at its lowest purchasing power in over 50 years. Contrary to the thinking of Matt Blunt and others, this increase will be an economic boost to Missouri rather than a detriment.

JACK: Do you have any plans on introducing any legislation if you are elected? If so, specify your plans.

HAGAN: In addition to a full restoration of the MAWD cuts, I will work towards restoring healthcare access in other areas. We need to work together to fund the CHIPS program to insure healthcare coverage for the children of working families. By cutting Medicaid, we added over 100,000 to the list of the uninsured. This created a larger burden on our healthcare system and guaranteed an increase in premiums the rest of us pay. Also, due to the Medicaid cuts, we passed on over a quarter of a billion dollars in federal matching money. Missouri now sends more tax dollars to Washington than it receives back. We are now funding healthcare programs for other states like Illinois, that increased its Medicaid coverage in anticipation of our cuts.

JACK: What are you plans regarding funding for Higher Education? Elementary and Secondary Education?

HAGAN: I will work to bring higher education's overall budget back in line with the growth in the overall state budget. For this fiscal year, state revenue projections show a 9-percent increase, yet the legislature only gave our state-funded colleges and universities a 2-percent increase – this amount does not even keep up with inflation. On average, tuition has increased at our state institutions by an average of 40 percent over the past five years. My husband and I have benefitted from our higher education, and as your representative, I will support legislation to make a college education attainable for more Missourians.

As for elementary and secondary education, the legislature is not living up to its constitutional responsibility to fund our schools. We cannot take the changes made to the Foundation Formula seriously as long as it is not being fully funded. Right now, that amount stands at about 91 percent. We are just beginning the second year of the seven-year phase in of this new Formula. Our schools and our children and grandchildren need this money now. It is my understanding that the school districts that brought the lawsuit against the state for inadequate funding are moving forward with their case. We need to set aside party politics and meet our responsibility to our schools.

As a retired public school teacher I am opposed to the so-called voucher plans that are currently circulating in the Capitol. The Springfield Public School system is one of the best in the state. By implementing vouchers, we would be hurting, not helping, improve the overall education of our children.

JACK: Your website does not list your top priorities beyond a broad statement toward supporting education, civil liberties, economic development etc. I would like to know specifics. It does mention that you are a "solutions-oriented, independent thinker who will bring a fresh perspective to Jefferson City". Please be specific about the solutions you are alluding to.

HAGAN: There needs to be a major change in the way business is conducted in Jefferson City. Right now the two parties are playing to their extremes. We need more people like myself to step forward and do what is best for the entire state, not just the special interests that fund their campaigns. My goal is to work with other legislators to formulate better ideas that really are for the greater good. I am less interested in who gets the credit as much as I am in getting the job done.

Among the ideas I would champion are finding viable energy alternatives – including giving tax credits to those companies that work towards providing cleaner, renewable energy sources. I believe that this industry is the next

JACK: Is there anything specific that you wish to discuss that I have not covered?

HAGAN: Now that my education career is over I feel that this is the next logical step in my desire to serve the community.

I appreciate Hagan’s responses to my questions. Her opponent, Republican Charles Denison, made perfectly clear early on that he was not interested in talking to someone who opposed any of his ideas. After reading Hagan’s responses, I have a few follow-up questions to ask. Camp Hagan does check out my blog, so they will get these questions soon enough. But before I send them to her, I wish to open this dialogue up to the blogosphere. If any of you have any serious questions that you wish to ask Hagan, I will be glad to include them to her in a personal email and post her response on this blog. I do reserve the right as the editor to accept or deny questions, especially if they are overly aggressive or offensive. It’s discourse over shouting, thank you very much.

She has been a good sport, despite the fact that I was highly critical of her not answering my emails. To reiterate, she states they had technical difficulties with their server. Since, she has answered every email I have sent her and every question posed. To which I say: Many Thanks.


1. It’s easy for folks to say that raising the minimum wage will do thus-and-so. In what ways do you believe raising the minimum wage will benefit our state economy? Be specific about how the opposition is incorrect in the assumption that raising the minimum wage will hurt Missouri.

2. You stated that Missouri has lost nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in federal matching money. Most people do not understand the federal government’s 60-40 split. Explain how this works and how that quarter of a billion dollars was spent.

3. School vouchers are becoming a nationwide issue, which appears to be split among party lines. Explain your belief that vouchers would be a bad move for Missouri. What leads you to believe that? If vouchers are not the answer, then how do we address the concerns that public schools are failing the community (as a nationwide concept) and that private institutions provide a better education than the public schools. How do vouchers help or hurt minority populations including persons of color and children with disabilities?

4. The Springfield Blogger's group has tossed around the idea of a legislative forum, where candidates will be invited to a public forum to answer topical questions on important issues. If we can ever get off our lazy bums and coordinate this event, I hope we can count on your attendance.


Anonymous said...

I would like to hear her thoughts on the Missouri voter id legislation.
--Fat Jack's Wife

Unknown said...

I totally disagree with Nancy's position on the minimum wage as I have blogged about the minimum wage and how I feel it has a very negative impact for no real results. But in saying that, this conservative would vote for her over Dennison any day if I were in her district but I am in the 136th.

admin said...

Wife: Will do.

Anonymous said...

Very good questions Jack. Is it possible that we can use some of the same questions at our legislative forum? We are planning one in October.

admin said...


Possible? You bet. Anything I can do to contribute to the forum. October, eh? Didn't know that. Thanks for saying.