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Q&A with candidates from the 8th District

  

 

The special election for the 8th congressional district is Tuesday, June 4.

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Democrat Steve Hodges

What’s the biggest issue for the 8th District? 

Anywhere I travel in the 8th Congressional District, residents say, “Steve, protect my Social Security.”  On multiple occasions over the past couple Congressional legislative sessions the Ryan Federal Budget Plan has been brought to a vote and this past March it passed with near unanimous support by the Republican Party – including the entire Republican Missouri delegation.  The only Republicans who voted against it essentially said the budget does not go far enough – one of them being Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan whom my opponent said he would model himself after in Congress.

Democrat candidate Steve Hodges
Democrat candidate Steve Hodges

Preserving Social Security will be my top priority after being elected to Congress.  My opponent has refused to respond if he would support the Ryan Budget so one can only assume that he would be another vote that would hurt Missouri seniors.  After all, he has not demonstrated the ability to work across the aisle since being elected to the Missouri State House.

What’s the first bill you would file if elected?

If the sequester continues after I am sworn in, I would work to restore FEMA funding.  Southeast Missouri faces significant flooding issues.  After the Bird’s Point Levee breech, it was necessary for FEMA to step in and help the families whose homes and property were destroyed.

What would the most important thing from your district you’d bring with you to Washington D.C. if elected? 

I would actually bring two things.  One would be a one-pound bag of Martin Rice which is produced right here in Southeast Missouri.  That way none of my visitors will forget that even though we have a diverse agricultural economy, Missouri is the 5th largest rice producing state in the country.

The second thing I’d bring is a mindset that quite frankly is missing right now in Congress and that is the mindset of a small town grocery store owner.  Because not a day went by when I ran a small town grocery store that I didn’t see customers come in with a handful of coupons to get the everyday necessities like bread and milk. Those are the types of hardworking people Washington has abandoned. I’m running because the people of Southeast Missouri deserve a government that works for them, not one that is an impediment to opportunity.

How are you feeling so close to the election?

I feel great. I wish I had another three months of this. I really enjoy meeting new people, hearing about local issues and figuring out where I might be able to make a difference.

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Republican Jason Smith

What’s the biggest issue for the 8th District? 

There are multiple. One affecting folks in the 8th District and all over our state is government regulations. Whether it’s the Department of Labor trying to promulgate the rules about children working on family farms or Obamacare.

Republican candidate Jason Smith
Republican candidate Jason Smith

Small business owners are saying that they don’t know how to deal with the government regulations, and they need economic growth. We’re seeing this in companies in the 8th District. Nordyne moved to Mexico because of regulations, which a lot of people don’t know. Plus, everyone is concerned about unsteady government spending.

Also, Second Amendment rights and government regulations issues by Obama. And now there’s concern about immigration, and of course the IRS.

What’s the first bill you would file if elected?

There would be a few. I want to work on a constitutional amendment for a balanced budget. I want to work on similar legislation like what I did this year in the House.

Also, I’d like to work on legislation that would look at reformed rules and regulations, putting them under review every five years. All things that will help the government work for the people rather than the people work for the government.

What would the most important thing from your district you’d bring with you to Washington D.C. if elected? 

The stories and input of the constituents. I really know those people and their stories. You have to know the people you represent. We’ve traveled all 30 counties multiple times and had some amazing experiences. Every policy that passes, I can understand how it will affect people back home.

How are you feeling so close to the election?

We’re really excited. The goal all along has been to be at my opponents level with visits and how much we raise and everything else.

We’re very proud of all of our endorsements too from some of the Republican leaders like Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee. And there have been some endorsement from some organizations that mean a lot to me like the NRA, Right to life and the Farm Bureau. It’s all just been a really exciting experience so far and I can’t wait to see what’s next.