SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – It’s crunch time for candidates as the November Midterm election is just a few days away. Ozarksfirst caught up with Democrat Amy Blansit and Republican Melanie Stinnett who are looking to win the District 133 seat.

The first question we asked each candidate is why they were running for the District 133 seat.

“It’s really just about knowing my neighbors and wanting to go and represent them and make sure that we have, you know, policy that really represents who we are and what we want in Springfield,” Blansit said.

“In 2014, I opened a small business in Springfield providing speech therapy services for children with disabilities,” Stinnett said. “Over that time, I recognized that there were some regulations and issues that were happening at the state level that were limiting the care that I could provide and the effectiveness I felt like I can provide as a speech pathologist and for my other therapists as well. So that’s really what got me involved and interested in the political process.”

The next question candidates were asked is what their goals were if elected.

“I want to be able to work across lines,” Blansit said. “I want to go back to the idea of governing and not politicking. That’s having those tough conversations, but making sure that the individuals in Springfield are truly getting a voice that represents them at the state level.”

“I just want to be able to offer my expertise and my knowledge base to make a positive difference for those individuals in the state that are trying to access health care,” Stinnett said. “Making sure that our health care businesses can thrive, whether that be hospitals or small businesses in health care, and then with children with disabilities just highlighting the needs that they have and making sure those vulnerable populations have the services that they need.”

In a Nexstar poll with Emerson College and the Hill, Missouri Voters deemed the economy as an important topic when it comes to casting their vote.

Ozarksfirst asked District 133 candidates what can be done to help the economy and how they plan to help voters.

“The idea of the economy and living paycheck to paycheck to paycheck is what I’ve been working on in Springfield for the last ten years,” Blansit said. “In our community, it’s really looking at: are there ways that we can reduce taxation, improve resources and access to food and food assistance? We know that individuals feel most stable when they’re able to feed themselves and their children and so making sure that we have access to that is going to be a really important factor in my campaign.”

“I think we take a look at our tax policies in the state of Missouri and make sure that when we are spending tax dollars, we’re spending them in a way that is appropriate,” Stinnett said. “Looking at wasteful spending, making sure that we’re not collecting tax dollars and then doing things with them that aren’t helpful to our communities is really a top priority for me. I think in doing that and decreasing that tax burden on our everyday citizens, then that can help them every day when they’re going to spend money in different places at the grocery store or the gas pump.”

Another topic Missourians say would determine their November vote is abortion access.

“Right now, the policies that we have written put women at risk, and that is terrifying,” Blansit said. “As a politician, what our role is at this point is to make sure that we understand what the policy means, how it’s written, and how as a state, we can serve under that policy and protect individuals’ lives.”

“As far as our current things and how things are set up in the state of Missouri, I’m in favor of our current set up,” Stinnett said. “States should be able to determine what’s best for them in their state. And so we have that opportunity now. But I wouldn’t be in favor of expanding that or looking at any kind of bans on contraceptive devices or anything like that.”

The Nexstar, Emerson College, and the Hill poll states 50 percent of Missouri voters are against the recent federal student loan cancellation program. A total of 35 percent support the program, and 15 percent are unsure.

District 133 candidates shared their views on the program.

“I do understand both sides,” Blansit said. “But it’s really difficult to have this conversation with individuals who receive Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and are perfectly fine with the government forgiving that loan, which was in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to companies. But they’re not willing to see that same forgiveness for an individual who has educated himself or herself and is actually trying to give back to our economy.”

“I would oppose the student debt or student loan forgiveness program in its current state,” Stinnett said. “I think that taking a look at the student loan setup and maybe interest rates or things like that, maybe being creative and some other solutions for individuals that find themselves in a troubled situation with student loan debt. But blanket forgiveness I think isn’t the best option.”

All voters will see Amendment 4 on the ballot, which asks if voters believe the Kansas City Police Department should receive more money.

Ozarksfirst asked both candidates about funding for police.

“I live in zone one,” Blansit said. “I live in the neighborhood that has the highest number of service calls. So as a resident in zone one, I am all about making sure that our police are funded, and that they have the resources that they need. And they’re also focusing on mental health and the upstream issues that are putting our police in some of the riskiest situations.”

“People don’t feel like there’s a significant enough police presence to deter crime,” Stinnett said. “I think that looks like making sure our officers have the funding that they need to be able to hire and recruit and retain great law enforcement to take care of us.”