Common Ground Conversations: State Representatives on Education Funding, Healthcare Services

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“It’s been interesting.”

That’s an understatement.

“You know people are a lot more complicated than you all just belong to the same party.”

Very true.

It’s also true that 2017 was a tough political year in Missouri, with bitterness on both sides of the aisle.

Here, at KOLR 10, we want to find common ground through conversations.

All December we’ll bring you stories about folks from different perspectives searching out what we can agree on.

Tonight we start with two of our state representatives, Democratic Crystal Quade and Republican Curtis Trent.

Though they come from different perspectives, both sound remarkably similar on certain key issues, including education funding.

“Most of the state revenue goes to just a few big areas, like education and transportation,” Trent said. “There’s not a lot of places you can just cut without decreasing the amount of services coming from the state government.”

Then, there’s common concern over the budget cuts to home healthcare services and a hope that the next legislative session can at least hold the line on social services.

“And folks on the other side of the aisle say they plan to make that a priority as well.”

But differences persist. Trent likes the idea of a fair tax.

I think a commerce tax makes a lot of sense from a theoretical economic point of view.
That idea’s a non-starter for Democrats.

Meanwhile, Quade will again push a bill to blunt the benefit cliff that families face for child care subsidies once they rise above the poverty line.

“We are seeing a substantial amount of people who are very vulnerable losing care,” Quade said.

Though Quade had a Republican co-sponsor last session, that bill died in committee. 

Ironically, what Trent said about Missouri Republicans being more complicated than you think by their shared party label brings the common ground issue home. Differences within the GOP have as much consequence for state politics as between democrats and republicans. With supermajorities in the legislature and a Republican in the governor’s mansion, it’s up to the GOP to come together to get things done for missourians. Along the way, it would be good policy to converse with the public as much as possible so we can all understand what our elected officials are doing.

“What truly matters is not what goes on on the floor of the chamber, but what goes on on main street, what the people want,” Trent said.

Indeed, common ground is a conversation we all must have.

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