Missouri Senate District 18
Crystal Stephens, Democrat
I am running for Missouri State Senate because I believe Jefferson City is out of touch with average Missourians who are struggling to survive every single day. The influence of dark money in Missouri politics has taken the focus off of improving the quality of life for all Missourians, and instead has been focussed on enriching the few and big corporations. We need to return the Missouri Legislature to working for the people they represent. State senators are responsible for representing the interests of the citizens in their district when considering legislation for the state. Their job is to improve the lives of their constituents. As elected officials, state senators are paid servants of the people. This is the job description of a state senator. Nowhere does it say that state senators are elected to represent corporations, or make personal profits. I want to represent the people and improve the quality of life for my constituents when elected. My personal experiences are what ultimately qualify me to represent the people of the 18th Senatorial District. I do not just have knowledge of the issues, but actual experience with the struggles of average Missourians. I am a single parent of a son with Asperger's and fought for his healthcare and his education. I worked multiple jobs to pay the bills. I have faced the discrimination of being a single parent. I have fought for years to get healthcare for myself. I have faced the stigma of living at the poverty level and rebuilt my life and my son’s in six years. While I am by no means rich, I have gone from surviving to actually living. I can not and will not forget what I went through to get where I am, and I will fight to help others who are facing the same situation.
Why should Linn County citizens choose you over your opponent?
I am running because I am one of the people I want to represent. The people that aren’t being represented in Jefferson City currently are the ones I want to represent. I think the we need the Missouri government to get back to representing the people. I’m also running because people of the 18th district need expanded Medicaid to take care of our citizens. The people of the 18th District need healthcare. I want to help rural hospitals and grow rural economic development.
What legislation, if any, will you sponsor to help the citizens of Linn County?
Obviously expanding Medicaid. I know there will be a lot of bills for agriculture too. I want to join an agriculture committee, if elected. In order to help family farms compete against big agriculture, I would like to submit legislation to close that gap to save our family farms. I would like to pass legislation to make it so that state legislators cannot be a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council while they are serving in Missouri. I want to return the state government to working for the people instead of corporations.
What is your stance on Amendment 1?
I am absolutely for Amendment 1. It’s the first step in cleaning up the Missouri government. I want to get dark money out of our government. It’s going to take more than just this amendment to clean up the Missouri government, but I feel this is a great first step in addressing the problem.
How do you hope to work with colleagues across the aisle?
I’m pretty good at stating my case and I think that a lot of the legislators right now are out of touch with average Missourians. I don’t believe many current legislators have gone through the problems that average Missourians are facing right now. I want other legislators to realize what the average people are going through. If you don’t know the problems average people are facing, I don’t think you can do a proper job as a senator. The way I would work with them is to find common ground. I think many legislators on both sides have the same goals in mind, but we want to achieve those goals in different ways. Compromise is definitely a tool I will use. My experiences will be able to influence decisions and help us compromise.
Infrastructure is a big problem in northern Missouri, roads are in need of repair and many buildings are very old, how do you hope to change this?
Infrastructure is more than just roads and bridges. If we’re going to pass ballot initiatives for infrastructure, it needs to include more than just roads and bridges. We need to update our water treatment facilities, sewers, everything, not just roads. Roads are important, but there are more problems that also need to be addressed. We need to invest into renewable energy. We need more transparency on ballot initiatives. We need to start working on what we’re including into ballot initiatives. I know taxes are a necessary evil and I’m not against taxes for infrastructure, but I want all of the tax money to go towards all of our infrastructure. The EPA only evaluates our water treatment plant in Hannibal every 25 years, we need to come up with better solutions to make sure we have clean water. We need more secure facilities to fix our infrastructure. It’s time to start addressing things that haven’t been addressed in 50 years, or more.