A battle for the 36th District – Barbara Lanning

Barbara Lanning:
Do you support education vouchers
and why?
Access to a quality, free public education is one of the most important services that Missouri provides all of its children. I have been elected to the Lawson Board of Education four times and am currently serving my 12th year as a Certified Board Member.
I have spent many hours at seminars and classes to increase my knowledge of the public school system. I have and always will be an advocate for public school improvement. I strongly oppose private school vouchers in any form! I would never fall for back-door voucher schemes under the guise of tuition tax credits, because public dollars should not be siphoned off to pay for private schools. I understand that some state representatives have chosen to take donations from a prominent Missouri millionaire who is pushing for private school voucher tax credits. I can guarantee when I am your representative, I will not walk away from my responsibility to our district just for money. We have quality schools in our district and it is an honor to be a member of the Lawson School Board. As state representative for the 36th District, I will be a tireless advocate for quality public schools.

How do you think the 911 systems in Missouri should be run? Should it be run as one entity by the state or should counties run the system? And what do you think of the current system in Richmond with a county 911 and a city 911 which don’t work together very well?
I believe the State should standardize all 911 services so they run as efficiently as possible. I think the State should assist local municipalities with the cost. I am opposed though to the State passing unfunded mandates onto local, rural municipalities. When I am elected to be the State Representative for the 36th District, I would like to listen to both entities and assist in any way that I can to help them function at the highest capacity for the citizens who need to utilize 911 emergency services.

What needs to be done to create jobs in the Richmond area?
The highest unemployment rate in our district is in Ray County, which unfortunately has a higher rate of unemployment than the state of Missouri. This must be addressed and we need both a short-term plan to address the immediate needs of the people in this district and a long-term plan to build a stronger job base for our district and the state of Missouri for years to come. We must hold the line on taxes and provide immediate relief to those who need it most! I support extending the property tax credits to 65,000 Missouri seniors to help them stay in their homes. I also will support realigning our economic development priorities to attract good paying jobs to our district and Missouri.

Whether you are in favor of the 2005 Medicaid cuts or not, what direction does Missouri need to go in for health care issues and does that include restoring or keeping the cuts?
I believe that all Missourians should have access to quality, affordable health care. I believe Matt Blunt and the Republican legislature let the citizens of Missouri down when they chose to strip Medicaid. In a single piece of legislation, they cut health care coverage for 60,000 parents, 15,000 seniors and people with disabilities, 9,500 working people with disabilities, 3,000 working Missourians with temporary disabilities, 1,150 working Missourians who were leaving welfare and 24,000 children on MC+ (the State Children’s Health Insurance program) whose parents could not afford premiums proposed under the Missouri Senate Plan. The Republicans claim that Missouri’s Medicaid system had become too costly to run, among the most expensive in the country. This is a false claim, one that is motivated by the influence of health insurance lobbyists. In fact, a study done by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities states that Missouri’s Medicaid expenditures were well below the national norm. The fact is that because of the 2005 Medicaid cuts, people in Missouri who have health coverage through their employer or individually have had to pay increases on their premiums, some as much as $2,000. As your State Representative, I would support restoring the 2005 Medicaid cuts and bring back the billions of dollars in matching Federal funds that Missouri forfeited under Matt Blunt and the Republican controlled legislature.

Do you support more subsidies for ethanol and other bio-fuel production plants in Missouri, and what are some other forms of energy that you would like to see developed in Missouri?
As your State Representative, I would support the development of ethanol, wind, solar, bio-diesel and cellulosic-based biofuels in Missouri. Working together with our farmers, ranchers and scientists, we can develop a robust bio-fuel industry that protects our environment, lessens our dependence on foreign oil and reduces environmental impact. I would support subsidies for these alternative forms of energy.

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