Local reps speak at Monett 2022 Eggs and Issues
Local legislators meet with residents over breakfast
State legislators and representatives of their federal counterparts met in Monett Friday to have breakfast with community members and discuss their recent work on the house and senate floor and their aspirations for the coming year.
Attending the Eggs and Issues event Friday was State Sen. Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove, and State Rep. Mitch Boggs, R-La Russell, as well as representatives of U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt and U.S. Rep. Billy Long, all Republicans.
Each representative was given five minutes to address the community members in attendance before the floor was opened to questions from the audience.
Boggs said he is working to pass legislation that would give people the ability to visit loved ones in the hospital despite rules and regulations stemming from COVID-19.
He also said he is working on a bill that will hold employers liable for any actions they ask employees to take.
Boggs said the goal is to ensure that long-time employees don’t end up being terminated and losing benefits they have accumulated during their careers.
Boggs also said he is keeping an eye on state spending, and has noticed a trend he finds disturbing.
“There’s $11 billion we’ve spent on mental health,” he said. “That’s $1,400 to $1,500 per person in Missouri. That’s our money, it’s not extra money. That’s kinda blown me away. I’m not saying that mental health isn’t a problem, but it’s a spot people can throw money without any questions.”
Boggs said it appears that legislators can simply throw mental health buzz phrases into legislation to get their measures passed, even if they don’t specifically intend to benefit those in need.
“That’s been a real shocker for me,” Boggs said. “Have I been able to do anything about it? Not really, but to combat mental health, it has to be a one-on-one thing.”
Moon said that the state budget is a mixed bag of good and bad, and said he voted against everything in the budget except paying down the state debt.
He also said he has his eye on the issue of transgender athletes and is working to ensure that men who identify as women are not able to participate in women’s sports via the Safe Women’s Sports Act.
He also said he is opposed to children receiving hormone therapy if they are choosing to transition their gender.
Moon said the human brain is not fully developed until at least 25 years of age, and people should not be exposed to hormone therapy until their brains are fully mature.
He also said he is opposed to the 4 percent corporate income tax, which he said is too high.
Erin Engelmyer, representing Hawley, said he, as a member of the Homeland Security Board, is working toward providing accountability regarding the U.S. military withdraw in Afghanistan. She said the senator from Missouri is also working to hold big tech companies accountable for their actions, and said there has been a move to cancel police escorts during Honor Flights to Washington, D.C. Hawley is opposing that move and hopes to keep the police escort for the veterans group.
Dan Worthington, representing Blunt, said he recently returned from Poland, where he received an update on the war in Ukraine, and is opposing a request from President Joe Biden’s administration for $33 million in funds for Ukraine.
Worthington said Blunt is opposing compromise in the state senate.
“Anybody can introduce a bill, but it’s difficult to get it passed,” he said. “Our founding fathers didn’t trust Congress, and you shouldn’t either. To get anything passed, you have to use an ugly word, compromise.”
Rather than compromising, Worthington said Blunt’s office is focused on constituent services, like helping residents navigate Medicare and the VA and help with individual issues.
Mike Ussery, representing Long, said the current presidential administration continues to push for student loan forgiveness, which Ussery called “blatantly political,” and designed as “a wealth transfer to the Democratic party’s Twitter class.”