[Below is a transcript of the Ozarks Tonight interview segment, which has been lightly edited for our OzarksFirst.com readers.]
Good evening, welcome to Ozarks Tonight we’re joined by Democratic Representative Crystal Quade who has been kind enough to come in for a few minutes and talk about her party’s priorities for the next legislative session in Jeff City. Crystal obviously Democrats are in a very small minority up there, so you have your work cut out for you to get your priorities into legislation. What are the top two or three items you like to see move in the next session?
I would definitely say health care, and that’s an overarching thing, but we would like to see increased access and affordability. And also restoration to a lot of cuts that we’ve seen over the past few years, particularly for seniors, our income seniors, our veterans, and people with disabilities.
We got a few things across the finish line this year. A great bipartisan bill increased Medicaid access for substance addicted new mothers to where they are able to maintain Medicaid coverage much longer than they were before, but that’s a small facet. We’ve seen cuts for the Missouri RX Program, which is a prescription drug coverage for seniors. About 63,000 people in the state of Missouri lost coverage. We’d like to see that restored among many other things for our low-income folks.
What do you think are the possibilities of working with Republicans for some of these?
You know some of them are good. Some, you know, we’re not as optimistic on, particularly the restoration to the health care cuts for seniors, consumer-directed services, and in-home nursing care. You know, Governor Parson was pretty vocal when then-Governor Greitens and made those cuts, so I’m hopeful that that will be a legislative priority for the new administration, and that’s something that we’ve seen support on from both sides of the aisle. When those cuts were made, folks were pretty upset about it. Obviously, we’ve had constituents call us about that. So, that’s one that I’m hopeful we can restore those cuts that were made in the past two years, but more things like, you know, increased access is something that, you know, is going to be a harder one to grapple with.
What are the items you want to stop? So, priorities for Republicans–things you don’t want to have happened.
Well, one thing that we’ve recently heard that will be a priority next session is more tax cuts. So this year Rep. Elijah Haahr had a bill that made it through the finish line that increases in tax cuts for corporations. And as a member of the Budget Committee that one was a little hard for me because we are going to take a hit, again, to our budget. And when we’re looking at, as I mentioned, these cuts to seniors’ health care and in-home services, taking money away from the budget is scary for a lot of folks, and so I’ve heard that that might be another priority next year to further those tax cuts. And, again, you know until we restore the services we’ve lost that’s something I really hope doesn’t cross the finish line.
All right. Rep. Crystal Quade joining us tonight with her perspective on being a Democrat there in Jefferson City. Thanks so much for being here.
Thank you for having me.