COLUMBIA – Democratic state senate nominee for the 19th district, Judy Baker, laid out measures today that comprehensively address what our communities need to fight the consequences of the pandemic.
“Missouri can emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic in better shape than other states if legislators will think beyond the short term and support strategic approaches that directly address several major issues,” Baker said.
“Missourians have seen too much denial and too many delayed reactions from elected Republican officials over the course of the pandemic,” she said. “It’s time to roll up our sleeves and put real thought into how we can ensure access to treatment, family stability and economic recovery in the coming years — and do a better job of keeping our most vulnerable citizens safe.”
Baker laid out her response and recovery agenda, “Getting Missouri Back On Its Feet,” at a press conference Monday afternoon in Columbia. She was joined by state Reps. Kip Kendrick and Martha Stevens, and by former Rep. Vicky Riback Wilson.
The agenda includes five pillars: ensuring access to healthcare and COVID-19 treatments, helping families maintain stability, reviving the economy, protecting our most vulnerable community members, and preserving democracy.
Priorities in Baker’s broad-reaching plan include initiatives to:
- Monitor health insurance costs at a time when insurance companies are reporting huge profits and raising premiums;
- Ensure vaccinations and approved treatments related to COVID-19, including drug treatments, are cost-free for patients;
- Extend grant and loan assistance for women and minority-owned businesses that missed out on federal CARES Act funding;
- Develop unemployment insurance solutions to keep families afloat as federal support ends;
- Require a state-maintained PPE stockpile.
The agenda builds on Democratic gubernatorial nominee Nicole Galloway’s executive leadership plan, which includes mandating masks, improving COVID-19 testing and tracing and communicating clearly with Missourians about public health.
Stevens emphasized the need to protect the Medicaid expansion approved by voters statewide in August. Kendrick called on the federal government to be more responsive to the state’s plight and stressed the value of requiring masks as one of the most powerful behaviors to slow the spread of cases.
Another priority “that should be near and dear to members of all parties is to protect democracy in our state,” Baker said. In particular, she called on representatives to form a Bipartisan Recovery Caucus in the General Assembly to look for innovations and funding, and to monitor for abuses that could keep help from reaching those who need it the most.
As a health policy expert, former two-term state representative, and former U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regional director, Baker said she wants Missouri leaders to meet the challenges of the pandemic head-on and serve the needs of families, businesses, service providers and public institutions.
“Our work has just begun and won’t end once a vaccine is available, or even when the pandemic officially is over,” she said. “This crisis has effectively shined a laser pointer on the state government’s neglect of our most vulnerable people. We must elect officials who will look out for the interests of all those they represent, and who are dedicated to tackling the after-effects of this crisis that may be felt for years.”